On Saturday morning (29 April 2017) at 10am, 34 year old cyclist Daniel Viñals was tragically killed on the San Antonio-San Jose road by a 23 year old driver who later tested positive for alcohol and drugs.
Dani was a well known local cyclist/athlete and his death has shocked the island especially as it happened on a Saturday morning, one of the peak times for local cyclists to take to the roads. The large outpouring of grief has been coupled with anger towards the driver who was subsequently released on bail.
The local cycling community has come together as one saying that they aren’t given enough protection and that Dani isn’t the first cyclist to be killed on Ibiza’s roads and won’t be the last. Juanjo Planells, President of the San Antonio Cycling Club, said that cyclists are “being killed like flies”
Planells also called for more measures to help reduce deaths of road cyclists by “trying to make more hard shoulders and more bike lanes” as well as “much tougher penalties for road infringements”.
The Balearics has become very popular for cycling due to its geography and climate. Team Sky host a training camp in Mallorca and Ibiza now has several large annual cycling events but as usual it’s Mallorca that has taken the lead with cycle safety as I witnessed first hand over Easter with their fantastic bike lanes running parallel but seperately to the main roads.
Unlike Mallorca, Ibiza has very few dedicated bike lanes which means that bikes and cars inhabit the same carriageways and as most people know Ibiza drivers aren’t known for their snail-like pace and patience. Road cyclists by definition use the road but Ibiza’s planners never seem to take this into account when updating the carriageways.
Ibiza’s local government spends thousands going to all the major travel shows in an an attempt to boost low season tourism putting forward outdoor pursuits as a viable option.
There’s no legislating for a drunk driver but after this tragic death surely now is the time to put a definitive plan in place to make the White Isle more cycle-friendly with enlarged hard shoulders, dedicated bike lanes and the safety of cyclists as a priority. There could be no greater tribute to Dani Viñals.