There is no better way to get to know a country than by hopping on your bike and setting off on two wheels. Spain is blessed with miles of world-class cycle routes, and a temperate year-round climate, making it an ideal place for cycling enthusiasts to visit. But in order to enjoy exploring Spain by bike, it’s important that you better understand the cycling rules and laws that apply to all cyclists that choose to hop on their bikes in the country. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know:
Your Bike is a Vehicle
First thing’s first, it’s important to note that in Spain, a bicycle is considered to be a vehicle. That means that you will be expected to abide by the same rules of the road as other road users, motorists included.
The one difference is that, whilst car owners are never legally required to wear a helmet, in certain circumstances bike riders are! Although it a widely contentious law that was strongly objected before it was introduced, all riders under the age of 16 are legally required to wear a bike helmet at all times (this includes both urban and non-urban routes). For adults the rules are a little more complicated: You must wear a helmet when you are outside of urban areas, but you are exempt from wearing one when you are riding up steep hills, are riding during excessive heat or if you are a professional cyclists. Of course, a good rule of thumb is that, for your own safety, you should keep your helmet on at all times, whether it is dictated by the law or not.
Spanish Cycling Rules and Laws
The rules and laws surrounding cycling in Spain are incredibly comprehensive. Whilst many of these laws are rarely enforced, there are always exceptions to the rule, so it’s important to understand them and stick on the right side of the law during your cycling adventures. Just some of the rules you should be aware of are:
- Just like a car or a motorcycle, when in Spain you should always ride on the right-hand side of the road. There are no circumstances in which you should ride against the flow of the traffic.
- If you’re using a designated cycle lane or bike trail, your speed should never exceed more than 30km per hour.
- Cycling in bus lanes is prohibited
- Using a mobile phone when cycling is prohibited.
- Listening to music (through headphones or ear buds) is not allowed when you are cycling.
- Unless you are raising your hand to signal, you should always keep both hands on your handle bars.
- Bikes should be parked in designated spaces: no matter how convenient, your bike shouldn’t be attached to a tree, bench, or any other undesignated area.
- You can only race if you are taking part in an authorised race
- Keep an eye on the speed limits when you are riding on the road: these apply to bikes as well as to cars
- If you’re carrying a child under 7 then they should be carried in an approved seat and always wear a helmet.
- Every bike should have front and rear lights, a reflector bar to the rear, and a bell.
- When cycling close to a building, you must allow at least 5m between you and the buildings facade.
- If there is no cycle lane available, and you have to ride on the pavement, your speed should not exceed 10km per hour. You can only ride on the pavement if there are no signs prohibiting cycling and the pavement you wish to ride on is more than 3 metres wide.
How Much Do Cycling Fines Cost?
So, if you fall foul of any of the rules or laws detailed above, how much can you expect to pay? This is one of the most frequently asked questions about Spanish cycling laws! Although this is by no means comprehensive, below you will find a list of the most commonly issued fines that you can be given for infractions on your bike in Spain:
- Not having brakes, or having brakes that don’t work properly - €80.00
- Not having any lights on your bike between the hours of sunset and sunrise - €200.00
- Failing to stop at a red traffic light - €200.00
- Not having a bell on your light - €80.00
- Failing to give way to other vehicles at a ‘give way’ sign - €200.00
- Failing to wear high visibility clothing when on your bike- €200.00
- Being under the influence of alcohol - €500.00
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