Palma.— A cyclists lobby in Palma calling itself PalmaEnBici.com yesterday criticised the City Council for stopping them from riding on certain pavement areas in the city.

The lobby claims that the council is sidelining the bicycle in favour of bar, restaurant and café owners who want to set up outside terraces for smokers with tables and chairs across the pavements.

PalmaEnBici.com claimed that they had come to this conclusion after analysing the drafts of a number of bylaws which will govern the movement of cyclists in the city, outlining just where they can, and cannot, ride.

Apparently, says the cyclists' lobby, the intention to favour the setting of terraces on pavements for smokers has already been acknowledged by Palma's Transport Councillor, Gabriel Vallejo.

“The (ruling) Partido Popular is trying to hide the decision to privatise the use of public pavements,” said PalmaEnBici.com. The lobby's transport and environmental spokesman Joan Lladó added in a statement that the Council were thereby trying to “criminalise” cyclists, leaving them to clash with pedestrians in whatever remaining urban areas are legally left to them.

Lladó pointed out that according to General Traffic department statistics, although there are 3 million cyclists out and about daily on the streets and pavements of cities throughout the country, cyclists account for just 0.5 percent of collisions with pedestrians, and none of them have proved fatal.

He said that reality shows that there is essentially no difficulty for pedestrians and cyclists to “live alongside” one another. Lladó claimed that bylaws clearly demonstrated confidence in the coexistence of the two-wheel and the pedestrian community by the fact that cyclists are allowed to cross pedestrian-only areas out of shopping hours or to use footpaths. He also said that a clause in legislation being prepared by the Traffic department authorises cyclists to use pavements of more than three metres wide.