As of June 15, 2023, 116 motorcyclists have died, 62 on weekends so far in 2023..
78% of motorcyclists who died did so on conventional roads.
57 motorcyclists died due to going off the road they were on, a type of accident in which no other vehicle is involved and in which a distraction or inappropriate speed is usually present.
It is a fact that with the arrival of good weather, motorcycle trips increase exponentially, especially on weekends when they become a recreational activity in itself.
For this reason, the General Directorate of Traffic carries out specific surveillance campaigns several times a year, in 2023 one of them this coming weekend and another in September, on the roads most frequented by motorists in order to control traffic. compliance with the most important regulations that affect motorcycle riding.
The number of motorcycle fatalities so far this year is above 2022 which makes the campaign that much more important.
The campaign, therefore, has the objective of trying to reduce fatal accidents involving this type of vehicle on weekends, for which the agents of the Traffic Group of the Civil Guard will disseminate the importance of respecting the rules and verifying that they are met.
EXTREME CAUTION: WEEKENDS AND CONVENTIONAL ROADS
Of the 345 people killed in traffic accidents up to June 15, 116 were motorcyclists (33.6%) and, of those 116, 78% (90 motorcyclists) died on conventional roads. If we take into account the data of motorists killed on conventional roads at weekends, this amounts to 53 people, almost half of the total.
36 drivers were sanctioned for speeding at roadworks on interurban roads carried out by the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) between September 24 and 30.
In addition, 242 were sanctioned for not respecting the signals, either from traffic agents, or from construction workers, vertical signs, road markings, traffic lights, cones or light beacons or any other type of specific signalling.
The agents of the Traffic Group of the Civil Guard carried out for the first time surveillance and control dedicated to locations where roadworks were being undertaken on interurban roads.
According to data from the National Registry of Traffic Accident Victims, in 2021 there were 156 traffic accidents related to road maintenance personnel, of which 19 involved operators who worked or walked on the road or its surroundings as pedestrians.
Of these 19 accidents there were 7 workers who suffered injuries and 2 lost their lives hit by a vehicle that was either travelling at excessive speed or whose driver was distracted. The other 137 traffic accidents involved maintenance workers inside their vehicles. In addition, so far this year, 2 maintenance workers have died while performing their duties on the road.
For all these reasons, during the week of October 24 to 30, 140,711 vehicles were controlled, of which 4,679 were sanctioned for different reasons. The main cause of sanction corresponds to speeding on road works sections, an infraction committed by 73% of the sanctioned drivers.
In addition, of the 4,727 sanctions filed, 242 corresponded to the lack of respect for signs, whether by traffic surveillance agents, construction workers, vertical signs, road markings, traffic lights, cones or light beacons or any other signage.
During the campaign, 153 drivers who drove using their mobile phones on these sections of works and 140 who did not use their seat belts were also sanctioned. In addition, 53 were sanctioned for driving under the influence of alcohol and 11 for the presence of drugs in the body.
Also worrying are the 34 sanctions filed for negligent driving, the 30 for not respecting the safety distance, the 24 for illegal overtaking in those areas or the 22 for equally illegal lane changes.
The Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, accompanied by four time World Champion motorcycle rider Jorge Martinez Aspar, gave a presentation last week in which he told the audience that new signage would be displayed in the 100 most dangerous sections of road in Spain for motorcyclists. The idea is to give greater warning to motorists driving along these segments of the road network.
Averaging around 2 kilometres each in length the dangerous sections of road reach across the whole Spanish territory. A study of the sinuosity of the road and the mortality rate over the last five years helped identify the dangerous stretches.
Referring to the data held on the accident rates for motorcyclists he focused on the magnitude of the problem faced. Grande-Marlaska said, “When faced with a problem in road safety, the first thing to do is to inform and educate the user and then monitor and control compliance with the regulations that affect them.”
A list of the 100 most dangerous sections of road in Spain
The DGT website has a complete list of the 100 most dangerous sections of road in Spain.
These chunks of the road network will now feature new signage. The new high-visibility road signs warn you that your speed may monitored. In addition, the authorities have added the mortality rate over the last few years in an attempt to force home the seriousness of the message.
The first sign has already appeared on the M131 at kilometre 4.3. The full roll-out is expected to be completed before Easter 2021. The plan is for further studies to try and improve the design of these sections. In the meantime, those responsible for monitoring road safety will intensify their efforts on these particular sections of the road network. Expect more surveillance and control by the road traffic authorities. This includes the use of police helicopters and drones to monitor traffic speed and illegal road maneuvers.
Part of the drive behind these latest efforts is that 2019 saw 466 motorcyclists die on Spanish roads, 45 more than the previous year. Motorcycles comprise a significant percentage of the fleet of vehicles on Spanish roads. In fact, 5.5 million two-wheeled vehicles exist in the country, which represents 19% of total vehicles but 27% of those killed in traffic accidents.
The majority of deaths were riders between the ages of 35 and 44. Most deaths occurred at the weekend on secondary roads.
The General Directorate of Traffic reminded drivers of the need to respect the established speed limits, in a period such as the state of alarm in which we are still in and in which vehicle mobility continues to be restricted.
A report confirms an increase in the speed of movement of light vehicles as they pass through speed control points. Specifically, during the state of alarm, the percentage of drivers who were traveling with excessive speed has increased by 39%.
Speed is one of the main risk factors both in the occurrence of accidents and in the consequences thereof. It is essential that drivers respect the established limits. A safe speed protects not only the driver and the passengers who accompany him, but also the other people on the road.
This call for attention was made in the days before the Monday May 11th. Many territories pass into phase 1 in the Plan for the transition to a new normality and that will involve the incorporation of workers into their jobs. A lot of them will opt for the private vehicle for their commute to work at a time when there are low levels of road intensities.
ACCIDENTS IN THE CORONAVIRUS PERIOD
The number of fatal accidents has reduced as a result of the reduction in traffic. Between March 15 and May 7, the number of fatal accidents has decreased by 71%, and that of deceased persons has decreased by 69%. Thus, 49 people have died during the state of alarm, compared to 159 people who died in 2019.
The state of alarm has also produced an impact on the distribution of fatal accidents between different types of roads. Highways and expressways have registered 19 of the 49 people who died, 39% of the total, when this percentage is usually around 25%.
The most frequent accident during the state of alarm has been the departure from the road, which represents 31 of the 49 deaths, 65% of the total, compared to 35% in the same period of 2019. Distractions and speeding are the most common reason. Two risk factors which the low intensities of traffic that many roads present today may encourage.
Worry data shows that the use of seat belts in occupants of cars and vans has reduced during this period. Ten of the twenty-four people who died did not use a seat belt at the time of the accident.
Therefore, in order for the mobility during the Plan for the transition to a “New Normality” to be developed in a safe way, the General Directorate of Traffic reminded people of the importance of respecting speed limits, avoiding the use of mobile phones while driving and the use of safety accessories. These tips are equally important for driving within cities, whose streets are beginning to circulate an increasing number of pedestrians and cyclists.
ROAD CONTROLS CONTINUE
Although it is true that you can leave homes to walk and do sports at established times, you cannot take the car to travel to second homes. Neither can you travel to beauty spots to walk or play sports.
As a result, the authorities continue to to have road checkpoints throughout Spain. The Guardia Civil continue to verify that the journey is legitimate under the Royal Decree of the state of alarm.
Whilst it might not be your intention to speed or commit any type of traffic infraction, it can happen. You can contract a service to ensure you receive automatic notification of fines by SMS text message or email. This will ensure you can take advantage of the discount of paying the fine early or to dispute it in case of an error.
In the spring of 2019, the speed limits in Spain will change. The Law is being passed that will see a simplification of the current speed limits. The change will mean that cars, motorcycles and buses will be limited to 90 kph on conventional roads, whilst all other vehicles must travel at a speed of no more than 80 kph. An exception will be where the conventional road has a physical separation between to two opposing flows of traffic. In this case, the maximum speed limit will be 100 kph for cars and motorcycles.
You can exceed the 90 kph limit in a car or motorcycle if you are overtaking a vehicle on a conventional road. In fact, you can increase your speed to 110 kph to overtake but then must fall back to the speed limit. The idea is to allow swift and safe overtaking, however, you can only exceed the normal speed limit if the vehicle you overtake is not driving already at 90 kph. If the vehicle in front is doing 80 kph for eaxmple you can temporarily exceed the speed limit. If the vehcile in front is already doing 90 kph then you have no right to increase your velocity to overtake.
On a motorway, there will be three speed limits. Cars a motorcycles will continue to be allowed to travel at 120 kph. Trucks and vans will be restricted to a maximum of 90 kph. The remainder of vehicles will have a maximum limit of 100 kph and this includes buses.
The reasoning behind the reduction in speed limits relates to the Directorate deTrafico (DGT) goal of further reducing the number of road deaths. There are numerous studies linking speed with road deaths. This amendment to speed limits is estimated to reduce the number of casualties by a further 10%.
Accidents on conventional roads is twice as high as those on motorways so it seems logicalthat this is an area the DGT look at.
Sweden recently reduced the speed limit in their country from 90 kph to 80 kph which saw a huge 41% reduction in road deaths.
It is also worth noting that the speed indicated on the sign is the maximum allowed and is not necessarily a target.
Have you seen a speed limit in a square sign with a blue background? Well this sign is used to recommend a maximum speed limit. This is not the same as the round sign with a red border which indicates the maximum you are allowed to travel at. The blue background is a recommendation.
This year Spain celebrates the 40th year of its constitution and the Directorate General de Trafico (DGT) has been looking back over that period at the evolution in numbers of traffic and how road deaths have fallen.
In 1978 the new constitution for the country was approved. That same year 6,967 people died on Spanish roads. The number fell significantly when the wearing of a helmet on a motorcycle was made legally compulsory in 1982. However, that improvement disappeared as by 1989, the worse year on record, road deaths had reached 9,344.
In 2017 the figure was down by 83% to 1,830 but the DGT is not content. It has been running a campaign for a while now with the aim of reducing the number of deaths to zero. Is it realistic? It is an honourable objective and if not possible, if the authorities are aiming for that figure then surely we will see further improvements.
Over the years a number of factors have helped reduced road deaths. The authorities made ABS braking system compulsory on cars. They set up a commission to specifically look at road safety. Points were added to driving licences and taken away for infractions, which perhaps surprisingly only started in 2006. Tougher penalties are in place for speeding.
In 1978 there were just under 9 million vehicles on Spain’s roads. By the end of 2017, this had grown to almost 33 million. Whilst last year saw a small increase in the number of road deaths the drop of 83% over this time is still quite an achievement bearing in mind the huge increase in the fleet of vehicles on the roads.
Perhaps one factor that may have contributed to the small rise in deaths is the age of the vehicles. In 2005 the average age of vehicles on Spanish roads was just 6.7 years. In 2007 the economic crash hit Spain and it hit hard. Many people haven’t seen any real growth in their income since then and the average age of vehicles has risen to 10.8 years. Newer vehicles have better safety features. However, many ordinary motorists are not able to take advantage of those.
Speeding is still the main road traffic infraction but surprisingly not wearing a seat belt also features highly, even nowadays.
Vehicle manufacturers and Government can introduce measures and police them but ultimately we all have a responsibility to ourselves, our families and other road users to use our common sense.
You can also appeal against the fine you have received. However, if you pay a fine promptly you receive a 50% discount. If you decide to contest the fine and lose you will also lose the right to the 50% discount and will have to pay the full amount.
If you wish to provide evidence against the fine this must be done within 20 days after receiving the notification.
What do you do if you receive traffic fines in Spain but you weren’t the driver?
Assuming you don’t want to be held responsible for the offence and fine then you will need to provide the details of the driver of your vehicle to the authorities.
There is a list of necessary information you will need to provide to the authorities about the driver of your vehicle. You must provide this within 20 days of receiving the notification of the traffic offence.
It is also possible to pay the fine in person at one of the Provincial Traffic department offices or in cash at Caixabank in Spain. If using the bank please make sure the correct and full reference details etc are included in the payment.
Most people realise that speeding is dangerous and is often the cause of lives being lost on the roads of Spain. This should of course be the main reason we respect the speed limits. Additionally, speeding can be very expensive in Spain.
I think it is fair to say that most people have exceeded the speed limit at some stage in their driving life time. May be it was just a lack of concentration, our mind wondering or because of a hectic lifestyle. Of course no one thinks they are going to be in an accident but the penalties might just make us think again about the speed we drive at.
In Spain you start with 12 points on your licence and if you are caught committing a traffic infraction you may lose some of those points. Alternatively if you continue to drive within the law you can gain points up to a maximum of 15.
On the left of the chart are the points you will lose from your licence. On the right are the fines you will receive. At the very top is a horizontal ist of speed limits. Below is a table showing that, for example, driving at between 91 and 100 kilometres per hour in a 50 kilometre zone will mean losing 6 points off your licence and a fine of 500 euros.