Feature - Protected Cycling Routes

Cycling in Spain - Protected Cycling Route Gandia - Simat
Road sign indicating minimum legal overtaking distance on Gandia - Simat Protected Cycling Route
In July 2017, the Director General of Traffic, Gregorio Serrano, presented Spain’s new Protected Cycling Routes network, one of the measures included in the Directorate General of Traffic's (DGT) Action Plan aimed at increasing the protection of cyclists on Spanish roads following the upturn in fatalities registered in 2016.

The Protected Cycling Routes have been selected in collaboration with public authorities, institutions and cycling associations, including the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation and the Spanish Professional Cyclists Association. According to Serrano, “the aim of this measure is to protect the thousands of cyclists who take to the roads mainly at the weekends to practice cycling, thus providing them with specially-controlled routes”.

So…..what are Protected Cycling Routes?

Firstly, in order to be considered for seletction as Protected Cycling Routes, roads must meet a series of requirements, including that they be open to two-way traffic, the absence of heavy traffic and accident black spots, and that the road surface is in good condition.

Specific measures

Once selected for inclusion in the network, each route is then subject to specific permanent and temporary measures. The temporary measures are especially focussed on Saturday and Sunday mornings and public holidays, when higher numbers of cyclists are usually registered on the routes.

These measures include:

•    Specific signs indicating the existence of the cycling route.
•    The temporary reduction of the maximum speed limit during the periods of heavier bicycle traffic.
•    Increased presence of Civil Guard patrols, with specific emphasis placed on the enforcement of safety regulations in relation to the minimum distance to be observed by motor vehicles when overtaking cyclists (1.5 metres), speed limits and unlawful manoeuvres, both by drivers and by cyclists.
•    An increase of 3,000 in the number of Civil Guard patrols in July and August.
•    Increased testing for alcohol and drug use along the routes and their access roads.
•    The inclusion of the routes in the surveillance missions undertaken by the Directorate General of Traffic’s helicopter patrols.
•    Coordination by the provincial traffic authorities of local police forces to improve road safety on the selected routes, including the provision of speed detection equipment.
•    Collaboration with the operators responsible for the roads included on protected cycling routes so that, in so far as is possible, priority is given to any necessary road maintenance tasks.

Cycling in Spain - Protected Cycling Routes
Road sign indicating Protected Cycling Route in the province of Jaen

In summary, a series of practical measures aimed at increasing road safety for all users along the selected routes.

Cycling in Spain - Protected Cycling Routes
Map of the Protected Cycling Route Network

Where are the Protected Cycling Routes?

There are a total of 138 Protected Cycling Routes distributed throughout Spain at present, covering a total of some 4,661 kilometres.

The routes cover roads that usually register a high number of cyclists during weekends and public holidays.

The majority are to be found in Castilla y León, where cyclists can enjoy 29 safe cycling routes covering 979.1 kilometres, and in Andalusia, which has 27 routes and a total of 960.2 kilometres.

The DGT plan also includes 15 routes (451.6 km) in Castilla-La Mancha, 12 routes in Galicia (689.4 km), 10 routes (181.5 km), in the Valencian Community, 9 routes (177.3 km) in Aragón, 7 routes (137.7 km) in the Canary Islands, 6 routes (152.7 km) in Extremadura, 4 routes in Asturias and in Madrid, covering 323.1 and 85.7 km, respectively, and 3 routes in Navarra (289, 2 km), Balearic Islands (90 km), Murcia (58.4 km), La Rioja (45.5 km) and Cantabria (39.9 km).

While these Protected Cycling Routes have been designed to encourage and protect cycists riding outside built-up areas, the DGT is preparing a specific section to be included in the future Strategic State Cycling Plan to cover the needs of urban cyclists.

This Protected Cycling Routes Plan is a pioneering initiative within the European Union. The aim is to protect the thousands of cyclists who take to the roads mainly at the weekends, providing them with specially-controlled routes”. DGT Director General, Gregorio Serrano.

Protected Cycling Routes in the Valencia Region

The 10 Protected Cycling Routes that currently exist in the Valencia Region cover a total of 181.5 km, with 3 routes in the province of Castellón, 4 in the province of Valencia and 3 in the province of Alicante:

Length (Route -Km)
Length (Province – Km)
Length (Region – Km)
ES – A - 01
Fuentes del Algar – Coll de Rates
CV - 715

ES – A - 05
El Campello - Relleu
CV - 775
ES – A - 13
A7 – Maigmó - Agost
CV – 827 (Junction A7 – Junction CV – 820)
ES – CS - 01
Artana – La Vall d’Uixo
CV – 223 from junction with CV – 10 to Eslida (Km 0 al Km 10)
CV – 219 via Chóvar (Km 0 to Km 13.5)
CV – 230 to Vall d’Uixó (Km 105 to Km 19)
ES – CS - 02
L’Álcora – Figueroles – Lucena – Puerto Remolcador
CV – 190 Km 7-Km 29.5
ES – CS - 03
Entre el enlace con la N-340 y la intersección con la CV-10
CV – 135 Km 0-Km 19.5
ES – V- 01
Rotonda Alfafar - Palmaretes
CV – 500
ES – V- 02
Godella a Serra
CV - 310
ES – V- 03
CV - 405
ES – V- 04
Gandia - Simat
CV - 675

Greater vigilance and control

Since the launch of the Protected Cycling Routes in the Valencia Region last summer, the Civil Guard Traffic Section has intensified the vigilance and control tasks that is carries out on the roads included in the network, with special attention being placed on the compliance with safety regulations related to the minimum distance which motor vehicles must leave when overtaking cyclists, speed limits and unlawful manoeuvres, both by drivers and by cyclists.

Since last August, the Civil Guard has issued around 1,000 sanctions during the weekends as a result of checks carried out along the Region’s safe cycling routes. The majority of the sanctions (687) were issued for speeding, followed in number by positive drink-driving tests.

With the implementation of these safe cycling routes, the Directorate General of Traffic has stated that it aims to both reduce the number of accidents involving cyclists and to reduce the number of associated deaths to zero. Since the launch of the plan, there have been a total number of 278 road accidents involving cyclists, with only 10 of these accidents occurring on the designated safe cycling routes. During the same period, there have been 53 traffic accidents in the province of Castellón involving cyclists, with only 2 being recorded on the designated safe cycling routes.

So far this year, there have been 120 accidents on Valencia's roads involving cyclists, with a single death recorded in the province of Castellón, where a 69 year old cyclist was killed in a collision with a truck on the N-234 road in the village of Barracas.

Related links:

Royal Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) (Spanish)
Spanish Professional Cyclists Association (ACP) (Spanish)
Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) (Spanish)
Protected Cycling Routes in Spain (Spanish)
Protected Cycling Routes in the Valencia Region (Spanish)

Michael Dixon

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