Spanish cycling rules

Spain might slowly, but surely become the new poster child for urban bike-friendliness. With ever increasing bike utilization rates and proper infrastructure being built in several cities already, it’s only natural that dedicated traffic rules are being reinforced. For example, there’s a special speed limit for bicycle riders and you must wear a bike helmet if you ride outside the city.

We can’t take responsibility for you not knowing or respecting national cycling rules, so please get informed before saddling up. Below we summarised the most important aspects to consider when biking in Spain, but keep in mind that our interpretation of the rules does not represent the letter of the law.

Bike requirements in Spain

LIGHTS | Between sunset and sunrise, you must have and use one white light pointing straight forward and one red one pointing straight back.

REFLECTORS | Your bike must have at least a rear reflector. It’s also mandatory to wear reflective clothing – but only between sunset and sunrise, on interurban roads, in low visibility conditions or tunnels.

BRAKES | Your bike must have functioning front and rear braking systems.

BELL | It’s mandatory to have a bicycle bell mounted on your bike. The application of a similar-sounding device is not equitable.

HELMET | Wearing a bike helmet is mandatory outside urban areas (you can get arrested if you don’t!). Exceptions:

  • when cycling within urban areas
  • when cycling in extreme heat
  • when riding up steep hills
  • if you’re a professional cyclist.

Cycling rules in Spain

  • In Spain, everyone must drive/ride on the right-hand side of the roadway. Never ride your bike against the traffic flow.
  • If available, you must ride on bike tracks or appropriately marked trails. The speed limit is 30 km/h.
  • You are not allowed to ride on pavements, sidewalks, public parks and other pedestrian areas, except at a speed of less than 10 km/h and when the following circumstances apply:
    • There are no separate lanes for cyclists
    • The sidewalk is 3m+ wide
    • The sidewalk is not crowded (that means you can keep at least 1m distance from pedestrians and can ride in a straight line for at least 5m)
    • There are no signs or markings prohibiting bicycling.
  • If you cycle on the road, you have to stay on the right or middle lane (if available). The left lane is to be used only if there is no other way due to the circumstances of the road, or to turn left.
  • If you ride on bike paths, you must be particularly cautious when you come to sections which must be shared with pedestrians or other road users, e.g. pedestrian crossings.
  • It is forbidden to ride on bus lanes, which are only intended for public transport.
  • Cycling in public parks, promenades and other central pedestrian areas is permitted, provided that the priority of pedestrians is considered, and you keep within a 10 km/h limit.
  • If you are cycling close to buildings, keep a 5m+ distance from the facade.
  • You are not allowed to use mobile phones or similar handheld devices which affect your attention.
  • You are also not allowed to ride while listening to music through headphones or earbuds.
  • Unauthorized races or similar competitions are prohibited.
  • You must always keep both hands on the handlebar while riding.
  • You cannot cycle with an alcohol level exceeding 0.5 grams / liter in blood (0.25 milligrams / liter exhaled). Up to €500 in fines can come your way if you do.
  • You should preferably park your bike in designated places, leaving a clear passage of 3+m in width for pedestrians. It is expressly forbidden to attach bicycles to trees, traffic lights, benches, wastepaper baskets, etc.

Hand signals

You must always use hand signals to communicate your intent to other drivers/riders:

STOPPING | Extend your left arm out to the left, point vertically downward and wave the extended arm up and down.

TURNING RIGHT | Extend the right arm perpendicularly to the body.

TURNING LEFT | Extend the left arm perpendicularly to the body.

For more detailed explanations of the rules and requirements, read here and here.

Donkey Republic rules

  • You must always lock your bike when parking it, be it during your rental period or at the end. You lock your bike by pushing down the lock handle until it beeps. Double check to make sure it stays locked.
  • For extra security, use the chain that comes with every Donkey bike and chain the bike to a fixed object, such as a street lamp post.
  • During your rental period, you can take and park your bike wherever you want. However, at the end of your rental you must return the bike to an available drop-off location. After parking and locking the bike, remember to open the Donkey app and click END RENTAL.
  • Have fun exploring the city on two wheels!