Electric bikes will be the new mean of transport in Madrid as from next month, according to a statement that was released yesterday by the city officials. The citizens will be able to rent the two-wheelers from 120 bike stands located across the city as part of a new traffic management scheme that the government is trying to put forward.
The parking stands and installation of the bikes will be conducted by the Spanish company BonoPark, who has been granted 25-million euros to execute the job.
May, the 1st, 2014, will officially go down in history as the day when Madrid took the first step towards clean transportation. This is when 1,500 electric bicycles will be made available to those who are willing to ditch the car and jump on the emission- and traffic-jam-free two-wheelers. The service is called “BiciMad” and it is designed in the same way as the very successful “Velibs” in Paris, and “Boris bikes” in London, although it will take some time before it reaches the scale of its international ancestors.
The company BonoPark is the one that designed the rental bikes, and will be responsible for managing the service. The two-wheelers will have a lithium polymer battery that should provide enough power for the bikes to run for roughly 18 hours, an electric motor and of course pedals to aid the propulsion. A GPS-tracking system will also be installed as an anti-theft measure. Their electric bikes are already performing the same service in San Sebastian, but there the stations are only 12 and the available bikes are only 90, with the hope that these will double by the end of this year.
The price for the rental is not yet announced, but it won’t be long until this is made public. The only limitation that stands before “BiciMad” is the fact that the city of Madrid has a very limited bicycle lane system. The city officials, however, have already taken this on board and have budgeted the construction of additional 60 kilometers of such lanes, as part of their 884-million euro new management scheme.
For the great enthusiasts in Madrid, who cannot wait any longer, Google Maps already provides the locations of the bike stands, so you can check them out and already locate the nearest ones to your home and office. And for the tourists, why not pick your hostel accordingly? Don’t be too harsh though, the stands might not be as close to you, or as many, as you might have hoped, simply because the service is just being launched. Just be sure to make a full use of what is available, because higher demand always leads to higher supply.
Image (c) Municipality of Donostia-San Sebastián