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Over 200 cycle around the Rock to mark World Bicycle Day

Photos courtesy of OTWO

Over 200 people cycled around the Rock on Sunday to mark World Bicycle Day, making their way to the OTWO Eco Festival at Europa Pool.

The event came as the counter on the Bayside Road cycle lane recorded nearly 900,000 trips over the past year.

Vanessa Byrne from OTWO, the event organiser, said: “It was an awesome weekend. It was great to see so many people attending it, and the Eco festival down at Europa Pool at the end was the cherry on top.”

“We had lovely weather for it and for cooled off in the pool afterwards.”

“At that event we had competitions, live acoustic music . It was the perfect way to enjoy World Bicycle Day and World Environment Day,” she added.

Former Minister for Transport and BYCS Bicycle Mayor, Paul Balban, told the Chronicle the turnout for World Bicycle Day was proof that cycling is growing in Gibraltar both as a sport and a means of getting around.

“The number of children at the event was encouraging and this bodes well for a greener and healthier future,” he said.

“The saying ‘build the infrastructure and they will come’ is also evident following the opening of the stretches of bicycle lanes in September last year.”

“Just one year since the Bayside Bicycle was finished, it has seen close to 900,000 trips including e-scooters and bicycles which is visual proof that investing in infrastructure works and also keeps micromobility off the busier street, which can only be a good thing to help reduce congestion.”

“I’m looking forward to see what World Bicycle Day 2025 brings,” he added.

The Bayside Cycle Lane, which together with the Kingsway Tunnel lane, was one of the first two to open in Gibraltar and marked its first anniversary on June 2.

Despite some controversy it has had nearly 900,000 trips in the first year, some 877,742 up to midday on May 31.

“The use has been consistent, not dropping below 60,000 trips any one month, with peaks in June and October 2023,” said a statement from the Gibraltar Government.

The figures were highlighted on Sunday morning by the Minister with responsibility for Transport and Urban Mobility, Dr John Cortes, as he started the cycle ride to OTWO’s Eco Festival at Europa Pool to mark World Bicycle Day, with over 230 cyclists, including many children, setting off from Eastern Beach.

Mr Balban, who as minister championed the project to create cycling infrastructure, noted that the data collected in this first year has far exceeded all of his expectations and that he was optimistically estimating 750,000 trips in that time.

“Regardless of whether you are a cyclist, an e-scooter user or even if you drive a car, this infrastructure benefits us all,” he said.

“It’s safer for users and reduces congestion on the road for other road users.”

“Although many users are cross-frontier workers, there seems to have been a significant increase in cycling as a means of transport locally, especially children, and that can only be a good thing for our health as a nation and for our environment.”

Dr Cortes said he was very pleased with the turn out on Sunday and the success of the bicycle lane.

“When you think that many of the nearly 900,000 journeys would otherwise have been made by car, you realise how positive this is for air quality and the environment, as well as for health,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to expanding on our cycling infrastructure in the coming months and years. There’s no going back - the future is bright for cycling in Gibraltar.”

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