Home Magazine Issue 02 Objects and Obstructions on the Road

Objects and Obstructions on the Road

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It is made clear in the new laws that no apparatus, installation or construction, except of a provisional or temporary nature, shall be installed on the roads or lands subject to the area of application of the laws governing traffic, movement of motor vehicles and road safety, which may interrupt the flow of traffic. Raised pedestrian areas in the thoroughfares, pedestrian crossings, speed bumps and other physical traffic calming elements shall not be considered obstacles in the highway where they fulfil the basic regulations established by the Ministries of the Interior and of Public Works and Transport and where the road safety of road users and in particular of cyclists is guaranteed.

All actions carried out by the emergency services, roadway assistance tow-trucks, or any other type of intervention must be governed by the principles of appropriate and strictly necessary methods. The actions of the emergency service teams, and those of the roadway assistance tow-trucks and of road repair and development, must endeavour at all times to affect the rest of the traffic as little as possible, occupying only the essential space in the road necessary to carry out their duties.

Use of the Hard Shoulder and Priority Lanes

Drivers of animal-drawn vehicles, special vehicles with a maximum authorised weight not exceeding 3,500 kilograms, mopeds, vehicles for persons of reduced mobility or vehicles in pursuit of cyclists, where there does not exist a road or part thereof specially designated, may drive on the hard shoulder, where it is passable and adequate for the vehicle. Otherwise, they must use the required part of the road. Drivers of vehicles whose maximum weight does not exceed 3,500 kilograms which, for emergency reasons, are travelling at abnormally reduced speed and therefore seriously interrupting the flow of traffic, may also drive on the hard shoulder or, in the circumstances referred to in this section, the required part of the road. Vehicles specified in the previous section are prohibited from driving parallel.

The driver of any of the vehicles specified may not overtake another if the duration of the parallel positioning exceeds 15 seconds or the distance covered in the said manner exceeds 200 metres. With respect to vintage vehicles, specific regulation exists. Infractions with regard to section 3 will be considered serious. Authorised vehicles dealing with emergency situations may also use the hard shoulder for access to carry out their emergency duties, but always where: a) The vehicles on the thoroughfare are being detained. b) The corresponding signals V-1 or V-2 are being utilized. c) They are not driving at speeds exceeding 40kph, excepting priority vehicles attending emergencies. Vehicles of the police and Guardia Civil, fire fighters, civil defence, rescue, and emergency health services, as well as maintenance teams involved in the installation and infrastructure of the highway and the vehicles denoted by the signals V-2 and V-24 which attend to carry out an auxiliary service on the road, may also utilize reserved lanes.

Driving in Opposing Lanes

Where advisable for environmental, safety or traffic flow reasons, the competent authority may prioritise different traffic direction, total or partial prohibition of access to parts of the road, either general or for specified vehicles or road users, the closing of specified roads, the obligatory following of fixed routes or the use of hard shoulders or lanes contrary to the direction normally provided. In the event of having to drive on a lane which would normally be reserved for traffic flowing in the direction you are travelling, such as may be the case in road works, the drivers of vehicles which are moving along lanes assigned to the normal direction of traffic, adjacent to that authorised for movement in the opposite direction, may not move out to the side, invading the lane authorised for travelling in the opposite direction; they will have as minimum short range or dipped beam headlights switched on both day and night.

If there is only one lane available in the direction which they are travelling, they will maintain a maximum speed of 80kph and a minimum of 60kph, or less if this should be established or specifically signposted, and if there is more than one lane available in the direction which they are travelling, they will maintain the speeds established in Articles 48, 49 & 50. Said road users and drivers will take special care to avoid altering permanent or mobile signalling features.

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