Palma.—Palma and Madrid are on course for another clash of interests and this time it is going to be over new laws governing cycling.
While Palma City Council has spent months drawing up new bylaws which were finally introduced on July 1, Madrid looks poised to introduce new national bylaws which will mean that Palma will have to adjust and tighten its new laws.

And, central government's new laws will also anger the pro cycling movements because Madrid wants to limit cycling in city centres as opposed to encouraging it, something cities across Spain have been trying to do for years in a bid to reduce traffic and their carbon footprints.

Currently in Palma, cyclists, for example, will be fined for cycling while wearing headphones or using pavements which have not been designated as cycle friendly due to the capital's confusing jigsaw of cycle lanes.

However, Madrid plans on totally outlawing cycling on pavements and enforcing the use of helmets in urban areas. “Pavements are for pedestrians,” the Minister for Interior, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, said yesterday. “And cyclists, for their own safety, should be made to wear helmets at all times,” he added.
Any such moves will disappoint pro cycling groups which are trying to promote cycling in Palma and have recently drawn up a plan for a new network of cycle lanes in the capital which has been presented to Palma City Council.

The only glimmer of hope is that if Madrid goes ahead with the tough new restrictions, Palma City Council will have no option but to increase the capital's network of cycle lanes in order to accommodate Madrid's new laws.

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