Marrakesh is an old Moroccan city located on the foothill of the Atlas Mountains. The old part of the city, known as Medina, is a busy touristic hub and a UNESCO world heritage site. It features a series of narrow alleyways, red-sandstone buildings and the busiest market square in Africa ‘Jemaa El-Fana’. The modern urban expansion takes place outside the old city walls with wider streets and lower urban density.

Bicycles have always had a strong presence in Marrakesh as the narrow busy streets of the old city make a more favourable precondition for individual and non-motorized transport (i.e. walking, cycling and donkey carts). However, as new developments in the city add more room for motorized traffic, more and more people are shifting to cars and motorcycles. Unless the city includes cycling in its mobility plans, it will stay limited to tourists and a shrinking number of locals. Today Marrakesh has 85,000 bicycles and 200,000 motorcycles. Walking is still the most common mode of transport with a modal share of 60%.

Modal split of cycling: 18.4%
Average length of trips made within the city: 2.5km to 5km

"Marrakesh implemented the first bike sharing system in Africa. The old city centre and the market square are closed to cars, however, mopeds share the space with the pedestrians and cyclists. The city has very few cycling lanes marked on roads or segregated cycling paths. In general, the existing paths are fragmented, and they don’t make a reliable network. Bicycle parking is present near the main stations and downtown with a small fee (equivalent to 0,15 Euro). This fee is paid for a guardian assigned by the municipality as there are no bicycle racks, only an open parking area for bicycles and mopeds.

In order to achieve its potential, the city needs to take measure for a safe and efficient cycling environment. A network of segregated cycling lanes in the modern neighbourhoods can complement the cycling friendly streets of the Medina. This can potentially stop the existing cyclists from shifting to motorcycles and encourage more residents and tourists to cycle. "
"The masterplan of the city doesn’t include cycling mobility and the city doesn’t have any separate plan for cycling. Maps and information are almost non-existent; and the available data doesn’t separate the pedal powered two-wheelers from the motor-powered ones. Most of the local cyclists are men, in addition to the tourists. Currently there are no lessons for cycling in schools, so the younger generation is less likely to grow up using the bicycles for mobility.

More effort should be put to make cycling convenient and safe for everyone. Cycling events can be a starting point to encourage the youth to cycle and normalize the image of female cyclists. In order to have a clear overview for the status que of cycling, the city need to gather more data on the number and type of cyclists as well as the purpose and locations of their trips. This can potentially guide a better vision for cycling in Marrakesh. The city can also develop some policies to promote cycling and limit the growth of motorcycling (i.e. promoting bike friendly businesses or cycle to school programs)."
"There is no budget for cycling activities in the city and no entity or person in charge of planning for cycling. There are a few cycling advocacies in the city, however, they run on limited human and financial resources. Perhaps one of the best practices in cycling advocacies is Pikala-bikes. The organization provides cycling education and capacity building for youth to work in cycling jobs (i.e. bicycle mechanics and cycling tourism).

A better orgware can be the entry point for a cycling movement in Marrakesh. Advocacy groups need to increase their sphere of influence, perhaps by creative cycling activities and involvement of more partners. They also need to cooperate with city and develop cycling marketing initiatives. The city on the other hand can start with capacity building for the transportation and mobility planners to know more about the cycling potential. A next step would be to assign a person within the municipality/province planning department to cycling-related activities."

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