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As children, many of us were taught to ride a bike, taking its learning as one of our first most outstanding feats. Over the years, this children’s entertainment has become more of a sustainable and practical alternative to go anywhere. In fact, the use of the bicycle is increasing as it is seen more and more as an efficient, economical, healthy and environmentally friendly form of travel.

The bike is gaining more and more prominence on Spanish roads. It is healthy and ecological, yes, but it also frees us from the unbearable traffic that breaks the harmony of urban centres. But they are not without a weak point, especially when it comes to safety. Cyclists are amongst some of the most vulnerable road users, which is why the DGT has dedicated itself integrating this vehicle into the daily activity of people so that it becomes a means of transport as valid and safe as any other.

With the new Road Safety Law, the General Directorate of Traffic states that endangering or hindering a cyclist in an overtaking event will result in the loss of 6 points and a 200 euro fine. When you are overtaking a cyclist, you must change lanes if there is more than 1 in each direction, taking your position totally in the second lane to overtake. If there is only one lane, then you must always maintain a lateral distance of at least 1.5 metres when you overtake. If you are unable to do this, it is quite simple, you must not overtake.

However, beyond overtaking, if cyclists are treated like other vehicle drivers, they not only have rights but also obligations. That is why they too must respect a series of traffic regulations to guarantee maximum safety on the road.

If a cyclist joins the road in a dangerous way, such as at a junction, without giving way, they can receive a fine of 200 euro. Therefore, before pulling out it is very important that all cyclists observe the road to which they are going to join. Logically, what you have to watch out for is that the cars are not nearby. If they are far away, in such a way that there is no danger to start the manoeuvre, then you may proceed.

Perhaps this situation has never occurred to you, but if you ride at night or during periods of poor visibility, you must make sure that everyone can see you. Again, there is no distinction between vehicles, of which the bicycle is one. Cyclists must have their lights on at the front and rear whenever they ride at night, but also in underpasses or, for example, when riding through tunnels. Not having the lights on means a fine of no more and no less than 200 euro. High visibility clothing must also be worn during these times.

It must be insisted that traffic lights and all vertical signs (stop, give way, limited speed…) are for all vehicles. Here, obviously, cyclists are included. This is why something as simple as it is dangerous like skipping a red light is punishable by a fine of between 150 and 500 euro.

Signalling your intentions to other road users is also a very good idea, so that they can react to your proposed movements in time. Using your arms to signal your intention to turn left or right, or moving your arm alternately up and down, with short, quick movements, to indicate you are slowing down or stopping, will help other road users.

In conclusion, a bicycle when used on the road is considered a vehicle and must comply with all the same rules and laws as everyone else. However, they are also very vulnerable and so must be given the appropriate space to ride, a respect that works both ways.

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