Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

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Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby il padrone » Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:31 pm

Spain has proposals afoot to curtail cycling activities with a raft of measures that make cycling less attractive, and potentially allow police to prosecute cyclists for reasonable and safe bicycle roadcraft.

This will only make cyclists' safety on Spanish roads considerably worse.

In short, these measures will push Spain further backwards, prevent the growth of sustainable transport, and only favour those multinationals that have dominated the vehicle and oil industries for decades.

- Requiring the use of helmets is a deterrent to cycling, and gives the false message that cycling is a dangerous activity. The national traffic authority has not presented any arguments or studies demonstrating the need for compulsory helmets – unlike ConBici which has presented convincing arguments against compulsory helmets.

Public bicycle sharing schemes will be in serious danger of collapse if these measures are enforced, and local councils will be forced to find additional funds to support them.



Conbici, the Spanish bicycle lobby group has a petition running here. Please sign it.
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by BNA » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:28 am

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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby warthog1 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:28 am

It's not just about helmets;

- Cyclists must wear approved helmets at all times on all roads. The only exception being that professional cyclists, and cyclists in competition or training, will be governed by their own association regulations.

- Cyclists should preferably ride on the hard shoulder or as close as possible to the curb on roads with a speed limit of 50 kph or more.

- Cyclists should preferably use the right edge of the right lane on roads with a speed limit of less than 50 kph and facilitate overtaking by faster motor vehicles.

- Cyclists under 18 may not cycle on A-roads (autovías in Spanish).

- Passengers and cargo cannot be taken on A-roads (autovías in Spanish).

- Prior permission will be required for cycling events and some of the policing costs must be met by the organisers.


I have never been to Spain.

Given the number of awesome cyclists they produce and the 3 week grand tour they run (Vuelta), I always assumed cycling was more mainstream than it is here. I was really surprised to read this :(

I signed it, but given I'm from another country, I don't know that it will do much good :|
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby il padrone » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:50 am

Spain probably has more active cycling than Australia. They currently have bikeshare schemes active in ten cities - it's more than just Barcelona. These could look forward to the success of Melbourne's Bikeshare under these new rules :P :(

Some more information on Spain's current 'helmet laws' for cycling on roads outside urban areas. This has not been positive for cycling.
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby toolonglegs » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:15 am

A couple of those rules I am not surprised about... A-roads are motorways. Why would you want to ride down a break down lane with traffic sitting at 120-160kmph next to you... and you certainly wouldn't want your kid riding down one either. I am surprised you were aloud to ride on them anyway!.
And needing permission to organize an event... is that really so surprising.
The other rules... lets see if they go through. Maybe the government is trying to raise cash :roll: ... the place is so bloody depressing with everyone unemployed and empty buildings everywhere!.
OK I exaggerate ... I love Spain :D ... I am married to a lovely Spanish lady after all... well 50% Spanish :D ... spend a few weeks there every year... but wearing a helmet does suck. Got so used to not wearing one here in France :D .
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby singlespeedscott » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:33 am

Agreed. Most of these changes are hardly going to harm cycling.

I think rule about everyone but professionals must wear a helmet is funny. There the ones supposed to be setting the example.
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby RonK » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:32 am

What would it matter? As I understand it, the law is routinely ignored in Spain anyway.
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby il padrone » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:41 am

singlespeedscott wrote:I think rule about everyone but professionals must wear a helmet is funny. There the ones supposed to be setting the example.

Where did you ever get that idea? :lol:

Mind you, now across Europe it is the pro cyclists and competitive racers that do wear helmets - makes that rule exception all a bit redundant.

Even more ironic - helmets were mandated by the UCI after road riders' campaigned themselves, after the death of one rider in a fall and collision where a helmet would not have saved him :roll: .
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby singlespeedscott » Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:16 pm

I fully endorse helmets. Having witness a couple of bad crashes that have ended with cracked and badly compressed helmets I cringe to think what would of happened without them.
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby il padrone » Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:45 pm

singlespeedscott wrote:I fully endorse helmets. Having witness a couple of bad crashes that have ended with cracked and badly compressed helmets I cringe to think what would of happened without them.

I fully endorse helmets as well. Just not any MHL, for a whole host of reasons that are well spelled out in the preceding thread.

Helmet use has been a personal choice of mine since 1979.
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby citywomble » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:12 pm

Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws
by singlespeedscott » Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:16 pm

I fully endorse helmets. Having witness a couple of bad crashes that have ended with cracked and badly compressed helmets I cringe to think what would of happened without them.


How about no crashes? This is covered quite extensively in the main helmet thread but IS still very relevant to this one.

Risk compensation by the cyclist, but even worse by the motorist when a cyclist is seen as 'protected', may well mean that helmets do protect heads - in accidents that may not have happened without. That's a lesson Spain may learn the hard way.
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby toolonglegs » Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:04 pm

il padrone wrote:
singlespeedscott wrote:I think rule about everyone but professionals must wear a helmet is funny. There the ones supposed to be setting the example.

Where did you ever get that idea? :lol:

Mind you, now across Europe it is the pro cyclists and competitive racers that do wear helmets - makes that rule exception all a bit redundant.

Even more ironic - helmets were mandated by the UCI after road riders' campaigned themselves, after the death of one rider in a fall and collision where a helmet would not have saved him :roll: .


When racing... hardly ever when training. I think it was Chris Horner who got pulled up in a training camp a few years ago and they tried to ticket him but he knew the rules.
RonK wrote:What would it matter? As I understand it, the law is routinely ignored in Spain anyway.

Traffic policing in parts of europe certainly isn't the same as in Australia / New Zealand :lol: .
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby sogood » Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:09 pm

Oh no, the Euro zone cycling utopia is being eroded by helmet protagonists! LOL!
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby il padrone » Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:52 pm

It may seem surprising, but you are not far from the truth!!

Copenhagenize wrote:The sad fact is that Copenhagen is the only city in the western world where cycling levels are falling. We're now at 35%, according to the City of Copenhagen. Before bike helmet promotion started in January 2008 we were at 37%. We predicted this back in January 2009.


Spain does not have this sort of level of bicycle use to lose, so it would probably not be felt in much of the country, but the decline in use of bikeshare facilities will be detectable I'd expect.
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby Summernight » Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:22 pm

Looks like Australia is a world leader again... On reducing cycling participation. Hooray? :roll:
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby wurtulla wabbit » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:27 pm

Cycling and motor biking is huge in Spain hence their reputation in motogp , road cycling etc.

If you know the Spanish, (I've worked there) they will give the rules the finger !
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby Howzat » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:46 pm

These seems to be pretty ordinary common sense safety-oriented rules - hardly a "raft of anti-cycling measures". I was expecting licenses, rego, bike taxes, bike bans in cities, etc, from the headline.
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby il padrone » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:05 pm

Glad you're happy and reckon the Spanish Government is "boosting" cycling then ;)

Funny how the locals don't think so.
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby wurtulla wabbit » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:16 pm

The locals won't give two hoots.
They have rally sessions around the town centre(loret de mar ) , bull runs up main street(Pamplona ) smoke like chimneys,kids all race around town centers on scooters, sometimes 3 up ! , drive like nutbags and generally quite a rebellious crowd....but in a good way ! :D
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:42 pm

citywomble wrote:
Risk compensation by the cyclist, but even worse by the motorist when a cyclist is seen as 'protected', may well mean that helmets do protect heads - in accidents that may not have happened without. That's a lesson Spain may learn the hard way.


Do I drive more carelessly and risk more car-on-car accidents because people wear seat belts? Or are safely protected inside 4WDs?
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby AUbicycles » Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:20 am

Except the Canary Islands, I didn't see the same level of interest in Cycling in mainland Spain compared with Italy for example. (But have only been to a few cities).

Agree about the highways, not the kind of place you would want to cycle.

Helmets would have an impact, and if this were to be regulated they would need to define the safety standards otherwise you could put an ice cream container on your head and call it a helmet.
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby human909 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:26 am

AUbicycles wrote:Helmets would have an impact, and if this were to be regulated they would need to define the safety standards otherwise you could put an ice cream container on your head and call it a helmet.


What sort of impact? The available evidence doesn't not suggest it would be a beneficial one to cyclists's health!
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby il padrone » Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:29 am

human909 wrote:What sort of impact? The available evidence doesn't not suggest it would be a beneficial one to cyclists's health!

.....nor to the community health generally.
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby outnabike » Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:42 am

Could it be that cyclists there will actually need a helmet more than average?
They have to ride in the gutters the way I read it, and will be prosecuted for claiming their lane. This is asking to be tipped off your bike and will make it more dangerous to ride. It is giving the motorist all the power to run you off the road. To compensate they say, wear a helmet and you will be ok?
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby zero » Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:48 pm

Howzat wrote:These seems to be pretty ordinary common sense safety-oriented rules - hardly a "raft of anti-cycling measures". I was expecting licenses, rego, bike taxes, bike bans in cities, etc, from the headline.


A bicycle is a road vehicle, and is and always should be entitled to use the lane. Use of a shoulder is something I do as a favour to motorists if and only if the shoulder is completely undamaged, unbroken and sufficiently wide to give me significant clearance between myself and motor vehicles - because unobstructed motorists don't deviate in course to leave sufficient space. Use of the far edge of a lane is never, ever safe - ie if I am using a lane, then I will ride sufficiently far into it to make it abundantly clear I'm using it - which causes motorists to overtake me safely.

You absolutely do not want any rule attempting or perceived as mandating use of a shoulder, because that leads to idiots attempting to enforce such a thing with their cars, even if the shoulder is not safe.

There is no quantifiable society/country level gain in road transport network performance by hamstringing cyclists.

If they want motorways clear of cyclists, then the solution is obvious, build a parallel cycle highway for each road that they want clear. For crying out loud, such is only 1 car lane wide and does not need to be engineered to be able to survive truck traffic.
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Re: Spain embarks on anti-cycling laws

Postby gorilla monsoon » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:55 pm

So a question, zero, would you be happy to stick with that statement and ride on autoroutes, autostradale, autobahnen ans autovias in Europe where The Italians, French, Spanish et al routinely drive at 150km/h and the Germans at 200km/h?
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