REMINDER: new traffic speed limits from 11th May

by Deborah Cater
Spain's new speed limits come into force on May 11th
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Tomorrow, May 11th, Spain’s new urban road speed limits come into effect across the whole country. Fines are hefty, so take into account the new limits.

First approved by the Cabinet in November last year, the new speed limits will come into force tomorrow.

What are the new speed limits?

Any Spanish road with one lane in each direction will reduce to a maximum of 30km/h. Single lane roads with one-way traffic where the pavement is above road level will also be subject to the new speed limit of 30km/h.

On single one-way lanes and double lane roads with two-way traffic where the pavement and the road are at the same level, the speed limit is even lower, down to 20km/h.

Roads with two lanes or more of traffic in each direction (minimum four total) will keep the speed limit of 50km/h. The exception is vehicles carrying dangerous goods, for which the limit is 40km/h.

These new speed limits doe no apply to the main roads in the big cities. For example, Madrid’s Paseo de Castellana is exempt.

You will also not be able to overtake at a sped above the spped limit. Previously, an increase of 20km/h was allowed. This may see an increase of queues behind cyclists on many roads, particularly at the weekends.  

Which roads do the new speed limits apply to?

The new limits apply to vías urbanas, which refers to “any roads that make up the internal communications network of a settlement, as long as they are not through roads (travesías) or are part of an arterial network”, according to Spain’s Directorate General of Traffic (DGT).

Simply, if a village or city road has a current limit of 50km/h, it will now be subject to the lower limit.

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What are the penalties for exceeding the new speed limits?

Not complying with the new speed limits is considered a ‘serious’ or ‘very serious’ road offence by traffic authorities.

Fines range from €100 to €600 and the loss of up to six points of the driver’s license. This depends on the speed at which the transgressor was going

For example, on a two-lane road with traffic in both directions where the maximum speed is 30 km/h, the penalty for driving between 31 and 50 km/h will be €100. At a speed between 50km/h and 60 km/h, the fine is €300 fine and the loss of two points off the driver’s licence.

Driving between 61 and 70 km/h will cost €400 and four points. Speeding at between 71 and 80 km /h will incur a €500 fine and the loss of six points.

Very serious speeding offenses are when the speed limit is exceeded by more than 50 km/h. This results in a €600 penalty and the loss of six points.

Why are the speed limits lower?

According to the DGT, reducing the speed from 50km/h to 30km/h reduces the chances of dying after being hit by a car from 90% to 10%.

At a recent press conference DGT head Pere Navarro said: “The real news is why have we taken so long to do this”.  

Over recent years, there has been a 69% rise in accidents caused by delivery vehicles.  In 2020, DGT deputy director Susana Gómez said: “Moving around when there are scooters, bicycles, motorcycles and e-scooters – which are now all used as delivery vehicles – is not easy”.

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