Madrid ordinance sections relative to bicycling
Below is a translation of articles 166 and 167, with summaries of articles 169 through 172, of the City of Madrid’s Ordenanza de Movilidad Sostenible (Sustainable Mobility Ordinance), enacted May 10, 2018 — traffic laws for bicyclists and other road users.
This page is published in connection with the article “The Madrid Model”. Miguel Cardo, author of the article, explains:
In Spain, traffic law is national (with some coordination at international level, e.g. traffic signs are the same everywhere except in North America and a few countries elsewhere) but traffic on urban roads (“vías urbanas”) can be regulated by each city. There are guidelines and default rules (not all towns care to issue their own ordinances), but cities have a quite complex body of bylaws and ordinances. Madrid and Barcelona are especially interesting because other cities tend to copy them, given their size and influence.
Article 166. Purpose
The purpose of this chapter is to establish the rules for operation and parking of bicycles on streets and in municipal and privately owned public spaces. The provisions of this section also apply to other human-powered vehicles (ciclos) and electrically-assisted bicycles with a 250-watt or smaller motor which provides power only during pedaling and below 25 km/h [17 mph].
Except as indicated in this chapter, bicycles are subject to the same rules in this ordinance as other vehicles.
Article 167. General conditions for operation and parking of bicycles
- A person using a bicycle must comply with traffic rules, doing what is necessary to assure safety and cooperation with other vehicles and with pedestrians.
- Bicycles shall travel on the roadway, in specific lanes or zones adapted to that purpose. When traveling on the roadway, bicycles shall occupy the center of the lane they are using at the time. Two bicyclists may ride side by side in the same lane, except when this poses a risk to other bicyclists or other road users due to the lane’s width or design.
- Bicyclists are not required to use specific lanes unless signs specifically indicate this.
- On streets with more than one lane in each direction, bicyclists will preferably use the rightmost lane, but may use the other lanes convenient for the trip, or depending on traffic conditions.
- On streets with lanes restricted to other types of vehicles, bicycles shall travel in the adjacent lane except when signage expressly permits bicycles in the restricted lane. Bicycle travel in a bus lane depends on its being at least 4.5 meters [14.7 feet] wide, and bicycles shall travel as close as possible to the left side of the bus lane. Cyclists shall not travel side by side in restricted lanes.
- Drivers of motorized vehicles who wish to pass a bicyclist in an urban area shall take extreme precautions, changing lanes and allowing sufficient lateral clearance to guarantee safety. A vehicle traveling behind a bicycle shall maintain a safe following distance consistent with speed and never less than 5 meters [16.4 feet]. This distance increases in proportion to the speed at which the motorized vehicle travels.
- A cyclist in a roundabout shall take the position necessary to be visible and predictable. Other vehicles shall reduce their speed an avoid cutting across the cyclist’s line of travel.
- For safety reasons, and by means of specific signs, bicycle travel may be restricted in any of the tunnels in the City of Madrid.
- Bicycle parking shall comply with the rules in Article 48 of this ordinance.
Additional sections are only summarized here:
Article 168. Bicycle travel on sidewalks (summary)
Bicyclists are required to dismount and walk on sidewalks, in pedestrian zones and on pedestrian streets; Exception: child under 12 years of age, accompanied by an adult and traveling at 5 km.h [3 mph] or less, respecting pedestrian priority, keeping a spacing of 1 meter or moe, and not in high-protection zones or when pedestrian traffic is heavy.
Article 169. Bicycle travel under special street conditions (summary)
Bicyclists may travel in both directions on one-way residential streets with a speed limit of 20 km/h [12 mph] or less, except when specifically prohibited. Other local streets may be designated as one-way except for bicycles. Contraflow bicyclists shall yield to right-way traffic
On bicycle streets and in 30 km/h residential zones, bicyclists shall take care and maintain a 1 meter [3.3 foot] separation from pedestrians and buildings, and dismount if this is not possible.
In public parks and gardens, bicycles may travel on paths more than 3 meters [10 feet] wide, considering these to be cycle paths, at no more than 20 km/h [12 mph] and respecting pedestrian priority, and no more than 5 km/h when pedestrian traffic is heavy. Children under 12 years may use other paths, respecting pedestrian priority and safety. In suburban parks and woodlands, bicycles may travel on interior roads, respecting the safety of pedestrians. More restrictive conditions may be established and indicated with signs. Bicycles may not travel on ramps and unsignalized sections of the M 30 loop road.
Article 170. Travel on cycle paths and on streets with special treatments (summary)
Bicycle lanes give priority over motorized vehicles including those which are turning right or left or might cross the line of travel of the cyclist.
Cyclists shall travel at no more than 10 km/h [6 mph] on bicycle sidepaths and shall not use the pedestrian part of the sidewalk. Pedestrians other than those using wheelchairs or other adaptive devices may not travel on the sidepaths, other than to cross them. The separation from sidewalks shall be identifiable with tactile pavement and visually. Cyclists shall use caution around pedestrians, especially children and disabled people. Bicyclists may travel in both directions on bicycle streets; motor vehicles may enter qwhere signage or markings so indicate and at specified hours. Bicyclists may travel in pedestrian spaces if necessary but must dismount if pedestrian traffic is heavy. Pedestrians should preferably cross bikeways at crosswalks; if elsewhere, pedestrians need to check for bicyclists. .
On paths not signed specifically for cyclists, they have priority over other vehicles but must use caution. If there is not a special bicycle traffic signal, bicyclists on a sidepath or bike lane shall comply with the regular traffic signal but not disregard what the next section says about right turns.
There may be special signs warning of where there are many bicyclists and limiting speeds.
Artícle 171. Special right-of-way rules (summary)
Bicyclists shall follow ordinary right-of-way rules unless special signs indicate otherwise.
At signalized intersections, if signalization so indicates, cyclists may cross the stop line on a red signal to turn right, respecting the right of way of others, particularly pedestrians.
Bicyclists have free access to low-pollution zones.
Bicycles and other cycles may use advanced stop lines as described in Article 165. In order to allow safer positioning of bicycles on the roadway while the signal is red, they may filter past stopped vehicles when this is safe, and may proceed to the advanced stop lines.
Artícle 172. Transport of people, cargo and pets (summary)
Bicycles and other cycles covered in this chapter may transport these, using seats, trailers, semitrailers of semi-bicycles (single-wheel pedaled trailers), complying with national law. .All parts of bicycles and trailers must be properly approved.
Pets must be secured.
Passengers and cargo must not
a) Drag, fall partially or completely, or shift in a dangerous way;
b) Compromise the stability of the vehicle;
c) Create avoidable annoyances;
d) Obscure lights or retroreflectors.
For safety’s sake, cyclists transporting people or cargo commercially are advised to wear a helmet and must carry insurance which covers the users and third parties. The vehicle must have preventive maintenance and be kept in good repair.
Cycles which carry more than five people require licensing, without overlooking other provisions of this ordinance.