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On the hordes of cyclists who are making a hell of a nuisance of themselves in Barcelona.
CATALONIA TODAY – SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE FIFTY-NINE
A decade ago, there were so few of them, nobody so much as noticed. Then, in the early 'Nineties, they increased in numbers, but were, thankfully, restricted to certain designated areas. Now, however, they are legion, they are everywhere, they take you from behind, they ram you from the front, they frown and grumble when they find their right of way blocked by toddlers who they have been on the point of turning into flattened flesh, they wing pedestrians without a word of apology and defy red lights and one-way signs as if to the manner born. I am talking, of course, about the growing hordes of Barcelona cyclists thanks to whom you now stroll at your peril.
It all started as a bit of harmless pro-environment symbolism invented by the Olympic Mayor, Pasqual Maragall, who introduced 'El Dia de la Bici', on which everybody could go pedal-crazy for just one day a year. This proved so popular that Maragall, taking his cue from Amsterdam, then ordered whole kilometres of white lines to be daubed across our pavements in a poor man's version of the purpose-built fietspaden that criss-cross the Dutch capital. Well, it's a fine mess he's got us into.
Perhaps the only solution left is to lobby for a Bicycle-Free Day, on which it would, briefly, be politically cool to tell people obsessed with carbon footprints to get off their bikes. How wonderful it would then be for us pedestrians to have twenty-four hours during which we wouldn't have to cross bicycle paths with thumping hearts, eyes peeled for any sign of a ruthless eco-warrior going like the clappers.