Monthly Archives: February 2022


Conbici (, in Spanish) is the Spanish coordinator in defense of bicycles. It gathers 65 Spanish associations and groups, and promotes the use of bikes in a day-to-day basis, no matter how the biker genre or age is. Moreover, Conbici works in order to promote positive legislation to protect everybody, including bikers and pedestrians, who are the weakest actors in streets. Local groups focus on their cities as it comes to urban biking and it has work groups in legislation, mobility, training, health and cycle tourism.

Conbici was born in 1990 and has contributed to the bike movement. It organizes the Iberian Congress “Bicycle and city” together with Portugal since 1996 and promotes the Cycle tourism and urban bikers meetings in Spain or Portugal every two years. Furthermore, it is a member of the Technician Scientific Committee in the European Mobility Week, participates in the Higher Traffic and Circulation Council, work group 44, representing the bikers collective, sits on the European Cyclists’ Federation, became a founder member of the National Bicycle Table and writes and spreads national and international summaries about politics examples which foster bike use as well as sustainability. In addition, Conbici promotes the intermodality of bike plus public transport. What is more, in the Conbici webpage you can read recommendations about how to move on bikes at both, cities and cycle tourism.

One of the key points Conbici has is the wide profile of collaborators. Indeed, it counts with professional people in fields such as urban planning, infrastructures, economy, tourism, legislation, health, education, you name it. This fact makes it possible that Conbici contributes with ideas on a variety of subjects, just like this blog.

As it comes to internal affairs, the General Assembly of Conbici meets to decide the necessary decisions on the addressed issues by consensus twice a year. The General Coordination Council and the Permanent Office are in charge of management.

European Cyclists’ Federation

European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) was born in 1983 with one target: To promote cycling as a sustainable and healthy means of transportation and recreation. They believe their roots are in Europe, but the challenge is worldwide since bicycle is the solution to many world woes. It is partially, financially supported by the LIFE Programme of the European Union.

This European federation determined the following goals:

  • Raise the status of cycling

  • Encourage consideration of cyclists’ needs

  • Support member groups

  • Undertake scientist research

  • Enhance information and advice regarding bikes and more

  • Promote the exchange of information and expertise

  • Provide information and expertise

They work in several domains such as new technologies, economy, policy, tourism, EU cycling strategy, global policies, health, environment, parking, road safety, urban mobility or EuroVelo. Moreover, they participate in European projects to promote biking.

Scientific research is offered by free to whoever need it. Scientists for Cycling is composed by a global network of academics and individuals actively engaged in applied research, teaching and dissemination from all disciplines interested in cycling or cycling-related topics.

Although there are not all European countries members, some of their members are not European, though is does not matter because bicycle is worldwide.

How does it place in the European bike movement? Imagine a bike group or bike association in Valencia, Spain. Then, there is the Spanish association (federation) Conbici with the Valencian bike group under it. And finally, ECF acts as an umbrella with Conbici and much more bicycle groups to improve bike movement.

Borders matter

Do you know why drivers and pedestrians usually feel safe?. Because there is a concrete border separating them. That, and a row of parked cars, traffic lights, street lights, mailboxes, trash cans, bicycle racks, trees, bollards and what not.
When I ask people the main reason they don’t bike, it’s because they don’t think it’s safe. And I can’t blame them if in your city the only thing between you and speeding cars is paint.

I just took the picture above a couple days ago. Do you see the big car, parked in the middle of the bikeway, next to a not parking sign?. You may wonder what was it doing there. Well, it was there because, while driving on the paint only bikeway, it almost ran over a biker. And this isn’t an isolated incident. When I bike I see cars taking the paint-only or flex post bikeway daily. You name it: ambulances, UPS/ Fedex vans, moving companies, Ubers, pizza deliveries, random drivers, etc. Most drivers do indeed respect paint-only bikeways, but with the amount of people driving, a small percentage of inconsiderate drivers keep a lot of people from biking.
A few days ago I found this tweet, and the question is totally legit. That temporary bike way, separated with big, plastic Jersey walls, is much safer than regular bike ways.
So what are the alternatives when it comes to borders for bikeways? Let’s see:

  • Paint: Low initial cost but ineffective with careless drivers. They need to be repainted as cars run over them.
  • Parking spots: Low initial cost and effective with careless drivers when occupied.
  • Flex posts: Moderate initial cost but ineffective with careless drivers. The posts need to be replaced as cars run over them. I’ve seen a whole street of flex posts lacking half of them in half a year.
  • Small border (half a feet tall): Moderate cost, small physical barrier, inconsiderate drivers will hit it before running over bikers, but they need to be replaced and realigned as drivers hitting them also move them.
  • Bollards: Moderate cost, visible from the driver perspective, will only work against inconsiderate drivers if they are made of and filled with steel and concrete.
  • Vegetation (planters, bushes, trees, etc): Higher cost plus periodic maintenance, improve air quality, but must be kept trimmed so they don’t reduce visibility.
  • Big barrier (as in concrete or plastic Jersey walls, etc): Higher cost, large physical barrier, very visible from the driver perspective, careless drivers will have almost no effect on bikers.
  • Detached (as in there’s a small sidewalk between the bikeway and the drivers): Higher initial cost but really safe against inconsiderate drivers.

Also, relying on borders alone to protect bikers from inconsiderate drivers is a bad idea. Borders complement an environment with enforced and reduced speed limits. Here in Seattle most streets are limited to 25mpm/40kmh. Meanwhile, in cities like Copenhagen or Barcelona it’s 30kmh/20mph.

Another thing to take into account is consistency: I’ve biked in cities where the bikeways were painted green, red, empty, and sometimes asked people to bike on the right while other times they asked we ride on the left. You’d never do that to pedestrians or drivers. So choose the best way (ideally look at the Netherlands and Denmark) and replicate it all over the city.