MOTORISTS have been asked to act as if upcoming changes in safety laws are already in effect, or face fines of up to 200 euros.
An amendment to the Road Traffic Act means drivers are required to overtake cyclists with even more caution.
The start date has yet to be confirmed, but motorists should consider them valid now, as the new could mean fines and three points deducted from your licence.
Drivers currently have to leave a gap of at least 150 centimetres (five feet) when overtaking cyclists on roads, even if that means crossing an unbroken central line.
The new ruling stipulates the distance should be at least two metres (six-and-a-half feet) AND drivers must slow to 20km below the speed limit on that road.
For example, on a 40 km/h limit road, the driver mustn’t overtake a cyclist any faster than 20 km/h.
Head of Spain’s General Directorate of Traffic (DGT), Pere Navarro, announced these new rules forms this week, as part of a list of changes to the Road Traffic Law, expected to come into force at some time in the next few months.
Included in those changes are the number of points deducted from licences for certain offences.
Driving with a mobile phone in your hand rises to six points deducted, for example.
Not wearing a seatbelt, helmet (on a motorbike), or having children not seated correctly will incur a four points deduction.
Cyclists are considered some of the most vulnerable road-users, despite having thousands of miles of dedicated lanes throughout Spanish towns, cities and connecting highways.
The proposed changes have been welcomed by cyclists, but met with consternation from some drivers.
Simon Covell, of Etiquette Cycling in the Torre-Pacheco said: “Generally motorists in Spain are respectful to cyclists. However, we welcome any measure aimed at further increasing the safety of vulnerable road users.”
Diane Henry from Daya Vieja on the Costa Blanca, claimed, “cyclists should also think about their own safety and use the cycle paths provided for them.”
How are driving penalties given in Spain?
In Spain, a ‘clean’ driving licence starts with 12 points, and points are deducted for various motoring offences, with an automatic ban once all 12 have been ‘used up’.
Reinstating points usually requires paying for specified courses at official driving schools, as points-related offences are never actually ‘spent’, even after a set time period.