Madrid’s public bicycles are great: they include fenders, front and rear lights, they are electric, they have gears, a chain saver and even a front basket. There are plenty of them throughout the city and they aren’t expensive to use.
But why?. Well, on the one hand Madrid is quite a walkable city, but it’s also true that there are a lot of drivers which increase pollution way too much. The main reason, I think, is because the lack of bike related infrastructure. I had a really hard time finding bike ways, and even when I did, they were often blocked by tables, chairs or people because they weren’t properly differentiated. Additionally, most people will find frightening having a bike way you have to share with cars, which is what Madrid does on big avenues.
Therefore, I’d love politicians all around the globe not to think about public bicycles as an easy way to appear in the media, but to think about it in a global and organic way: Create a bike culture, provide good and safe facilities, and people will forever love you. Like the lads of en bici por Madrid ask.