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Spain - Cycling

There are a number of regulations that cyclists in Spain should heed at all times. One of these is to wear a helmet, unless you are cycling in an urban area. There are a few instances where a cyclist is allowed to ride without one even outside of towns, such as if you have a medical exemption (for which you will need proof in case you are stopped by the authorities), if you are on a substantial climb or if the heat is so extreme that it is not practical to wear the helmet.

However, the regulations are not clear on what constitutes a substantial climb and there is no clarification on the type of temperatures which would be deemed ‘extreme heat’. Despite the regulations it is common to see people cycling without a helmet. A cyclist should also not drink alcohol and ride a bike. Cyclists are only permitted to have the same levels of blood alcohol as motorists and you can be stopped and breathalysed at any time if the police suspect that you have been drinking. Cyclists are permitted to ride two abreast along the road but single file is essential where there is a great deal of traffic or if visibility is not good. Cyclists found riding in groups of more than two abreast can be prosecuted as this is considered to be dangerous. With this in mind it is also obligatory for all cyclists to wear reflective clothing so that they can be seen clearly by drivers. When cycling downhill on a road which bends a cyclist is allowed to use the centre of the lane and motorists are obliged to travel slowly behind them unless it is clearly safe to pass.

Motorists are required to leave at least 1.5m of space when overtaking cyclists, and are encouraged to overtake only when cyclists are riding single file in order to maximise safety. In turn, cyclists are requested to ride single file when traffic is particularly busy.

Cycling is very popular in Spain, although this is mainly as a hobby than a means of transport. If you are interested in cycling as a sport then most areas have a range of cycling routes that you can follow. It is possible to find out about cycling routes from the local tourist offices which hold maps and other details which can be useful. Many regions also have cycling clubs and the larger towns usually have a cycling shop for spares and repairs.

Cycle lanes in towns for getting around are actually very rare as cycling as a means of transport is not yet popular. In some areas it is considered to be dangerous to cycle as there is too much traffic or the traffic moves too quickly. Drivers are often discourteous and will pass cyclists too closely.

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