In Barcelona there is a badly parked motorcycle every eight meters. This, in addition to going against municipal regulations, supposes “an architectural barrier that prevents and limits the mobility of pedestrians” and that “occupies public space for free, a finite resource”. This is how the entities Catalunya Camina, for the rights of pedestrians, and Eixample Respira, for better air quality, express themselves. Both have carried out a study that has put figures to a reality that bothers many residents of the city, but that until now could not be quantified.
The map of the areas ‘forgotten’ by rental motorcycles: they avoid the poor neighborhoods of each city
These two entities have carried out street counts for three weeks and in different districts of the city, covering 30 kilometers. Thus, they have realized that in the Catalan capital 85% of motorcycles that park on the sidewalk do so incorrectly. This means that, extrapolating to the city as a whole, 90,000 mopeds are parked incorrectly every day.
This creates a “serious mobility problem”, since motorcycles occupy more than 260,000 square meters of public roads. A conflict that is not only exacerbated by the fact that, poorly parked, these vehicles occupy more, but also because in Barcelona there are only 77,899 parking spaces on the road for the more than 216,000 motorcycles registered.
One might think that it is this lack of space that makes motorcyclists resort to the sidewalk, where parking spaces are not delimited, making it easy to park in any way (in fact, only 3% of vehicles parked on the road they do it incorrectly). But, according to the authors of the study, this is not the case, since in most examples of poor parking, there were free spaces on the road less than 100 meters away. So much so, that it has been recorded that 30% of these places are free.
Up to 4 euros per day to park on the street
Parking on the sidewalk is not wrong, since the pedestrian and vehicle ordinance of the Catalan capital allows it. But you can only park in semi-battery if the street is more than 6 meters wide, or parallel to the road, if the street is narrower. Even so, as the entities responsible for the study warn, “many drivers skip the regulations and make door-to-door journeys, because it is allowed.”
With these words, they refer to the small number of fines that are filed. According to data from the City Council, in 2021, 14,600 motorcycles were fined (and charged the penalty), that is, 13 a day. This means that only 0.01% of improperly parked mopeds have been reprimanded, according to the study’s forecasts. This figure represents a decrease of 35% compared to the sanctions filed in 2018.
Faced with this reality, the entities that have carried out the study and that have the support of other organizations such as the Federation of Neighborhood Associations of Barcelona or the Platform for the Prevention of Traffic Accidents, propose a series of measures. The first of these is to charge for parking on public roads, as cities like Palma de Mallorca or Paris will begin to do starting this fall.
For Barcelona, a rate of 1.5 euros per day is proposed for residents and 4 euros for non-residents. “The charge will allow investments to mitigate the externalities created by these vehicles, from pacifying areas to improving active mobility or public transport,” they say.
And it is that, in parallel, they are committed to encouraging other ways of moving that do not go through the private or motorized vehicle. Along these lines, they recall that 95% of trips in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area are less than 10 kilometres, which is why they call for greater use of electric bicycles, which have journey times similar to those of motorcycles.