The C-31 main road between Castelldefels and El Prat attracts many cyclists. But sharing the road with vehicles that on stretches reach speeds of 100 to 120 km/h, and with lots of exits to local towns, makes things difficult. In fact, some 28 cyclists were hit on the road between 2013 and 2017 –one fatal– a figure that the Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (AMB) aims to reduce with a series of improvements that still have to be approved by the Catalan government, which the AMB says is favourable to the changes. The measures proposed are simple, says the AMB, such as widening the hard shoulder, reducing speed limits to 80 km/h, and changing the signs.
The proposed safety measures will only apply to the stretch between Castelldefels and the connection with Filipines, at Viladecans. This is the stretch that sees the largest number of cyclists and were changes to the road can more easily be made. If the project is passed, on the seven kilometres between Castelldefels and Filipines, the two lanes will be reduced from 3.7 metres to 3.3 metres. That will mean the hard shoulder can be widened from 90 centimetres to 1.40 metres. Between the hard shoulder and the traffic lanes, a 30 centimetre rumble strip will also alert drivers should they drift on to the hard shoulder by accident.
At the same time, the AMB proposes reducing the speed limit to 80 km/h and putting up large signs and painting coloured bands at exits to warn drivers joining or leaving the main road of the presence of cyclists.
Yet, traffic speed is only one problem, as cyclists that use the road also complain of tree roots making the surface uneven, and the danger posed by litter and pine cones on stretches where cyclists reach speeds of up to 50 km/h.