Are you planning a biking holiday this summer? If you are, there’s a strong chance you’ll be hopping on a ferry and taking your bike to Europe for a week or two. If that sounds like you, there are many rules you need to familiarise yourself with before you embark on your European adventure. Last week we gave you some tips for traveling to France; this week we’ll be giving you some Spanish travel advice.
On a general note, no matter what European country you’re visiting this year you will need to carry your VC5 along with MOT and insurance documents. You’ll also need your European Health Insurance Card and an International Driving Permit, which you can get from your local Post Office. Finally, make sure you have adequate travel cover. Some policies, such as ours, include breakdown cover for abroad, but some others may not, so make sure you check this before you leave.
Below are some things to bear in mind when traveling around Spain:
– You no longer need to get a Bail Bond to take a vehicle into Spain.
– There are six major motorways – called Autopistas – which link the country’s main towns, plus two other motorways which run down the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines. Generally speaking, these roads are in good condition and you will encounter very few tolls.
– There are an increasing number of cases where riders are stopped and their documents checked. Most checks will happen from checkpoints at junctions, so make sure you have all the relevant information in an easy-to-reach spot.
– If a rider commits an offense, the Spanish law gives the court permission to imprison that rider for three months.
– Any fines you incur must be paid for on the spot and if you don’t have enough money you will be escorted by police to the nearest cash machine. Although very rare, failure to pay has sometimes resulted in imprisonment.
– In relation to other European countries, Spain has been renowned for having poor road safety. However, recently the Spanish government has been taking measures to improve safety, such as reducing the 120kph speed limits on main roads to 110kph.
– If you’re planning to travel to north or south-west Spain, you may come across hazardous and uneven surfaces. This is due to lack of road maintenance in the area, so be extra-vigilant. You should also expect to ride through narrow, winding roads, so be careful on the corners.
– Similar to France, if you wear glasses it is essential to carry a spare pair with you. If you are found not to have a second pair you may face a fine.
– Generally speaking, Spanish drivers do not stop at zebra crossings unless there are traffic lights. This means you must take extra care when you are approaching a crossing and there are vehicles behind you: if you stop, the person behind you may not expect you to, so make sure you start braking early on.
– Some towns and villages have flashing amber lights on the approach to a traffic light. If you are riding within the speed limit the traffic light will turn green; if you are riding above the speed limit it will turn red so you are forced to slow down.
– The law states that crash helmets are only compulsory for drivers of machines over 125cc. However, our advice would be to wear one at all costs – you’re riding on a road with over two and a half million other two-wheeled drivers.
– If you were involved in a collision it’s important not to sign any documents that you do not fully understand, even if you are asked by an official. Make sure you seek advice with your insurance company immediately.
– Similar to France, radar detectors are illegal in Spain and if you are found with one – whether it’s on or off – you will face a heavy fine.
– If you are caught crossing solid white lines you may also face a heavy fine.