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A teenager rides an electric scooter. R. C.
New helmet law and minimum age requirement planned for electric scooter users in Spain
Transport

New helmet law and minimum age requirement planned for electric scooter users in Spain

The traffic department is preparing a reform of regulations that seeks to make pedestrians and cyclists safer and is more demanding for motorcyclists

José Antonio Guerrero

Madrid

Friday, 28 June 2024, 13:20

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Spain's General-Directorate for Traffic (DGT) will make it compulsory to be at least 16 years old and to wear a helmet in order to ride an electric scooter. Owners must also register their scooters with the vehicle traffic registry. These provisions are part of the draft revision of the general traffic regulations, which has been open for public consultation since Wednesday. The draft also stipulates that the vehicles can only operate in urban areas, must have a light in low visibility conditions, and riders must wear a reflective vest if using the scooter for work purposes.

The draft, now under discussion, aims to increase the protection of vulnerable road users after finding that half of the people killed in road accidents in 2023 were pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists or users of personal mobility vehicles.

The new regulations aim to promote sustainable mobility by reserving pavements exclusively for pedestrians, although local councils will have the authority to regulate the parking of two-wheeled vehicles as long as they don't obstruct pedestrian traffic. Parking near pedestrian crossings will also be prohibited to enhance visibility and accessibility, ensuring the safety of individuals with reduced mobility.

Similarly, in urban areas, bicycles will preferably travel in the centre of the lane, and cyclists will be allowed to overtake motor vehicles on the right or left during traffic jams. On single-lane streets with a 30 km/h limit, cyclists will be permitted to travel in the opposite direction.

The use of helmets will be mandatory for all cyclists on roads, with previous exceptions removed. They must also have luminous or retroreflective elements in low-visibility conditions. Furthermore, the draft reduces the overtaking speed of cyclists on interurban roads by 20 kilometres per hour. For instance, if the speed limit is 90 km/h, vehicles cannot exceed 70 km/h when passing cyclists, always maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres.

Gloves, helmet and closed footwear

For motorcyclists, the DGT will allow them to travel on the shoulder during traffic jams and require the use of protective gloves, full-face helmets, and closed-toe footwear on all roads.

Moreover, buses will have their speed limited to 80 km/h on highways when carrying standing passengers or lacking seat belts. During snowfalls on highways and motorways, vehicles must use the right lane to keep the left lane clear for emergency vehicles and snowploughs, allowing an emergency lane in case of significant traffic jams.

Other new features of the draft include a reduction in the permitted blood alcohol levels for novice and professional drivers to 0.20 grams per litre of blood (currently 0.30) or 0.10 milligrammes per litre of exhaled air (currently 0.15).

Before final approval, the document must pass through the state council, the ministry of the interior and Miteco (the ministry for the ecological transition and the demographic challenge), among other departments, and be approved in the council of ministers.

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