By John Ensor •
Updated: 11 Nov 2023 • 12:02
Image of city bicycles.
Credit: SimonK/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0
NEWS about the DGT usually involves regulations involving motorised vehicles, but with an increase in bicycle users, it’s essential to know what practices could earn cyclists a fine from the Spanish traffic authority.
More and more people are taking to bicycles in Spain, particularly in cities where they can take advantage of the increasing number of cycle lanes. It is also a useful way to get around motorised vehicles’ low-emission restrictions, according to 20 Minutos.
In response to the growing use of bicycles and electric scooters, the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) has issued clear guidelines. Article 121 of the General Traffic Regulations explicitly states, ‘the circulation of all types of vehicles must in no case be carried out on pavement and other pedestrian areas.’
Consequently, the DGT has set a fine of €200 for those found cycling on footpaths. However, this amount can vary based on the municipal traffic and road safety ordinances of each city. This emphasizes the importance for cyclists to use designated lanes or, if non are available, the road itself.
Another critical aspect of the regulations concerns the use of helmets. Article 118 of the General Traffic Regulations mandates that ‘bicycle riders and, where applicable, any occupants will be required to use approved or certified protective helmets in accordance with current legislation, when traveling on interurban roads.’
However, the law is relaxed for some circumstances. Although recommended, the wearing of a helmet is not essential, ‘on long ascending ramps, or for medical reasons that will be accredited as established in article 119.3, or in extreme heat conditions.’
The law is different for cyclists under 16 years of age where it is compulsory to wear helmets on all roads, including urban ones.
Non-compliance with helmet laws results in penalties from the DGT, potentially reaching up to €200. However, a discount is available for immediate payment. While in urban areas, wearing a helmet isn’t always mandatory, it is strongly advised to minimise the risk of head injuries.
The DGT’s regulations are a reminder for cyclists to prioritise safety and adhere to traffic laws, for the benefit of the individual and other road users.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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