New cycle lane logs 100,000 trips
The counter on the Bayside Road bicycle lane registered its 100,000th two-wheeled trip on Monday afternoon.
The Minister for Transport, Paul Balban, told the Chronicle the infrastructure had been received “extremely well” by users and was popular with both cyclists and people on e-scooters.
Many of them are cross-border commuters, which means fewer vehicles on the roads.
“I think it’s really positive because it just goes to show how many people were actually on our roads, because it's going up slightly week on week,” Mr Balban said.
On Monday, the new lane received a thumbs up from Stephen Bailey, who happened to be passing when the number hit the 100,000.
The father of two children, aged 10 and eight, has lived in Gibraltar for the past 15 years with his Gibraltarian wife. He grew up in the UK where he said it was possible to cycle safely in many areas.
“Having the ability now to be able to go from Imperial Ocean down Sandy Bay fairly safely with the bikes with the children, where we bike down, have a day at the beach and bike back, is fantastic,” he told the Chronicle.
“We cross the runway, use the tunnel, down that little bit of construction going on - I'm sure that will get cleared up in time - and then down to Sandy Bay and, for the most part, it's absolutely safe and for the first time in 15 years, I feel like I can take myself and the children out and have a bit of a bike ride.”
“It is not very safe on the roads in Gib, the roads are small. And now, all of a sudden, we've got this infrastructure that makes it safe for children. And I'm sure the commuters love it as well, obviously.”
“But for me, having the ability to take the boys on a bike ride is brilliant."
He also said that he hoped it would instil healthy habits into his children and that, in future, they would opt to cycle rather than drive short distances.
Work is ongoing on the cycle lane that will link with Bayside Road, taking users along the front of Portland House on Glacis Road down to the Waterport roundabout.
The beginning of the next section of the bicycle lane is already taking shape.
“And that new section I think will be the most beautiful section because we're building it specifically,” said Mr Balban.
“We're also fixing the pedestrian walkway. And we are planting nice hedges. So it is going to be a nice green area, there will be some benches, there will be a double bicycle lane.”
“And slowly we're heading towards the schools because my aim is to get everyone that lives on Eastern Beach the opportunity to come all the way to school if they want to without having to go on the road,” he added.
He said that with the new affordable housing estate having some homes handed over to the owners, there will be more children living in that area who could make use of a cycle lane to school.
“I'm hoping that this will be the start of a change in the way that people move, at least to young people,” he said.