Barcelona rises in the ranking of this year's Index, showing that firm, consistent commitment pays off. There were no bicycles left in Barcelona just eight or so years ago and now it is a city where bicycles have once again gained a foothold. The city has employed a mixture of traffic calming measures and infrastructure to make it’s citizens choose a bicycle for transport. It is one of the cities in the world with the largest swath of 30 km/h zones and while the bicycle infrastructure network is far from complete, it is usable and frequented. The city's bike share programme is one of the best on the planet (measured by usage rates) and it has helped boost cycling levels across the board. From bicycles heading down the boulevards in the morning rush hour to kids cycling happily around the squares in the densely populated neighbourhoods, Barcelona is embracing the bicycle again. There is a high standard of intermodality in the city and surrounding metro area. The city's Superblocks initiative may not be focused on bicycles, but it will certainly do wonders for cycling in the neighbourhoods. Barcelona is interesting to larger cities around the world who don't find inspiration in smaller urban centres. Barcelona is a big city and when big cities do things, they get noticed, which is brilliant for showing the world what is possible.
Smaller cities in Spain have made impressive inroads over the past few years but the Catalan capital is in a league of its own when it comes to larger cities. There is no El Clásico on the bicycle urbanism pitch, with Madrid so painfully far behind. Among the larger cities in the region and, indeed, around the Mediterranean, Barcelona maintains a leadership role. Light years ahead of Rome and other large Italian cities.
Barcelona's development has slowed but it certainly hasn't stalled. There is continued focus on further development of the city's bicycle infrastructure and facilities. What the city desperately needs is a plan to connect up the many bits and pieces of infrastructure and to truly make the bicycle the fastest way from A to B. The city would be well-served by adopting Best Practice infrastructure instead of many half-hearted solutions. Traffic calming has positively impacted cars but the problem of scooters remains. Infrastructure is key for Barcelona.