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16/02/22 3

Changing the traffic code to protect cyclists

Cyclist protection law passes Senate

The Highway Code is about to change to protect cyclists. In fact, the law on the protection of cyclists, which some majors are calling a ‘breakthrough’, has passed the Senate. But is it really?

We have already seen a great deal of palliative intervention on the subject of prevention on the roads, particularly in defence of bicycle users. The hypocrisy of thinking of ‘green’ as just lithium batteries (not those of mobile phones, but those of very un-ecological electric cars), is matched by the construction of cycle paths in the middle of nowhere or even non-standard, in large cities. Just to meet so-called European standards.

Italian cities lend themselves to cycling at least as well as other major European cities, yet in the main cities, especially Rome, cycling on two wheels is still really dangerous, if not impossible. We are often confronted with bumpy cycle paths or those created by reducing car lanes with a simple brush stroke. Often in Rome, the cycle lane is a mini-lane hidden by parked cars, lethal near intersections because it does not allow the motorist to see who is passing.

Cycling is the most popular activity

If we add sportspeople to those who simply use a bicycle to get around, cycling can be considered the most popular activity in Italy. The pandemic then saw a boom in the use of bicycles, which were already very popular in our country. FCI President Dagnoni recalled:


“On the safety of cyclists there are dramatic numbers and we have to work. We have been talking about it for some time and we hope that this proposal will soon become law. Cycling in Italy has had a real boom, especially during the pandemic. According to a recent Nielsen analysis, we are the third most practised sport, behind gyms and running, and we have more than twice as many practitioners as football. It is necessary to form a culture of respect through road education, starting with the youngest. I thank the promoters of this bill and all those who carry out awareness-raising initiatives; together we can change things”.

Cordiano Dagnoni

What the law consists of and why it is still not enough

Among other interventions, the law will introduce questions in the driving licence quiz concerning overtaking manoeuvres of cyclists. 1.5 metre distance. Certainly, the driver mentality barrier is a key issue in protecting cyclists, and these measures are a step forward in road safety education.

The defect, however, is primarily structural, and without truly functional cycle paths, for both cyclists and users, not much will be resolved. Cycling is healthy because it counteracts obesity and sedentariness, but above all it is the only green solution.

Protecting cyclists means creating spaces for cyclists that are truly separate from car traffic, with real investment that goes against the grain of what happened until the 1990s. Areas where there is less frenetic movement will also ensure a revival of small shops, to reach which there is no need to use cars.

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