Way of life for living in the "city":

Malaga is a popular tourist city in the south of Spain that sits on the Mediterranean. It is mainly inhabited by university students (there is a technical university there) and English retiree tourists (I’m sure there are others but that’s what it feels like to me). Most of Malaga is flat along the coast line but it gets hilly once you move way from the coast. Malaga is on the end of a high speed rail line to Madrid which is excellent but its local rail system is not as good. It does have a local rail line but it actually bypasses the main business park area that is 15km to the west where a large number of tech companies have their offices. I have been told that this was done deliberately because there would be too much of a load on the rail system if it went to the business park. As a result there is a daily gridlock of cars on the highway heading west every morning. There is a bus service that operates though.

Road Design and Infrastructure:

Malaga has a growing number of off road bike paths in the city areas which are helpful since the roads are quite narrow in the city centre. There are quite a lot of people who use these lanes for basic transport. The light sequences seemed fair to cyclists from what I could see. There were also bike paths in the business park where I worked but I never saw them ever used (See below for explanations). They were just installed on existing footpaths. In the past few years, Malaga has introduced a bike share program in the city area which gets used a lot now by locals for quick journeys. While I didn’t generally use it to get around, I did have a daily exercise routine where each evening I would get a share bike and do hill repeats of Camino de Gibralfaro (130m) and return and swap the bike before the free 20min timer ran out and then repeat.

Traffic Policing:

I didn’t have any contact with traffic police and was not advised of any issues by colleagues.

Car driver behaviour

I had no issues with cars while riding in and around Malaga. The drivers were very courteous and never aggressive in trying to get past you. I regularly used offroad/bike path options where available and never felt like they slowed me at all.

Helmets

Helmets are not compulsory in Spain. On weekends there are a number of lycra clad cyclists riding along the coast on nice bikes with helmets but it was rare to see anyone riding in the city wearing one.

Commuting:

I would have loved to commute to the office by bike in Malaga (about 15km each way) but unfortunately my office (and I believe many other offices) do have any shower/changing room availability. As a result, I would normally share a taxi or occasionally catch the bus (which took a very long and convoluted way to get to the office).

Types of bikes:

Most of the bikes that I saw around the city were either bike share ones (very solid, upright, 3 speed internally geared hub, swept back handlebars) Riding out on the weekends I would also see some racing style bikes as well.