Changes to Spain’s Traffic Law have come into effect today, Monday 21 March, and all road users should be aware of them. These are the main differences to look out for:
Drivers and motorcyclists are no longer permitted to exceed the speed limit by 20 kilometres an hour when overtaking other vehicles.
When passing a bicycle or motorcycle, the driver should fully occupy the adjoining lane on a road with two or more lanes. On single-lane roads, they must leave at least 1.5 metres between their vehicle and the bike or motorcycle. Failure to do so will result in a loss of six points from their driving licence.
From now on, anyone who drives with a mobile phone in their hand will lose six points from their licence instead of three.
Failure to use a seat belt, child retention systems and other elements of protection, such as crash helmets for motorcyclists, will result in a loss of four licence points instead of three.
Throwing anything into the road or nearby which could cause a fire or accident will be penalised with a loss of four licence points and a 500-euro fine.
Pedestrians always have right of way on zebra crossings, pavements and in pedestrian areas, including over personal mobility vehicles such as bicycles and scooters.
Stopping or parking in a cycle lane is now a serious offence and will result in a 200-euro fine.
It is forbidden to carry radar jammers in vehicles, whether they are connected or not. Doing so will result in the loss of three licence points and a 200-euro fine.
People on motorcycles and mopeds are allowed to wear certified or homologised wireless devices on their helmets for communication or navigational purposes, but it is not permitted to carry a mobile phone between the helmet and your head.
Failure to wear a crash helmet, or not wearing one correctly, will result in a loss of four licence points instead of the previous three.
No personal mobility vehicles may use the pavement or other pedestrian spaces; they must use cycle lanes or, if there are none, then the road. They are not permitted on dual carriageways or motorways.
A helmet must now be worn by law on a scooter or any other type of personal mobility vehicle. With regard to bikes, helmets must be worn on inter-urban roads, but in towns this is only obligatory for under-16s.
Because so many under-18s use bicycles and electric scooters nowadays, the alcohol limit as far as they are concerned is zero.
The system for recovering lost licence points is the same as before, but the full 12 points can be recovered in two years now as long as there have been no new infractions in-between.
Drivers no longer have to carry their licence with them, as long as they can prove they have one via the ‘miDGT’ app.