TRAFFIC chief Francisco Ruiz called on cyclists and drivers of other vehicles to respect the Highway Code to prevent further deaths. He was referring to the deaths of an American and a German cyclist in traffic accidents on Tuesday.
He said that cyclists not only had to wear helmets, they had to fasten them. Andreu Canals, chairman of the Balearic Cycling Federation, said that cyclists were frequently the victims of road accidents. He pointed out that the safe distance for overtaking is two metres and said people criticise cyclists for not riding in single file, but I do not know anyone who has been fined for not respecting this. The regulations say that bikes should have reflectors, and that cyclists should ride in single file, although they can ride side by side providing there is a hard shoulder wide enough. Three cyclists have died on the Balearic roads so far this year.
Last year, six of the 118 road deaths were cyclists. Some had been hit by a vehicle when they were cycling in single file, but others were involved in accidents at junctions. Ruiz de Peralta said that it was necessary to put an end to road deaths, otherwise the figure could reach 200 by the end of the year. The highest figure in recent years, he said, was 155, in 1999. Cycle tourism has been growing in recent years and is actively encouraged by the authorities who see it as a means of boosting winter tourism.
One cyclists, Andreu Stelrich, said that the hard shoulders were too narrow, and even roads which were well asphalted were not prepared for groups of cyclists.
Two British cyclists said that they had noted an increase in cycling tourists over the years, but they had also witnessed an increase in carelessness, both on the part of cyclists and of drivers. Joan Rosselló, a Majorcan who has been cycling round the island for 15 years, said that people should be more aware of how to behave on the roads. He too said that the hard shoulders were too narrow. Manuel Picazo, who took to riding a mountain bike a year ago, said it was not always the drivers' fault. It's difficult for the two sides to get along, but each should do his best. Two visiting Danish cyclists said that they did not know the roads and this could be disconcerting, but they added that sometimes the behaviour of drivers lead to difficult situations.
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