Riding A Motorcycle In Spain - Rules, Regulations and the Law
With glorious year round weather, Spain is the perfect place in which to ride a motorcycle, moped or scooter ('Motos' as they are commonly known as here). If you are living here and looking to buy a motorcycle in Spain, or visiting for your holidays and looking to hire one, you will need to understand the laws when it comes to motorcycling in Spain.
So read our guide full of tips below and make sure you don't fall foul of the law.
What Motorcycles, Mopeds and Scooters Can I Ride?
The driving licence that you hold and the codes on the back of it will determine the kind of vehicles you are permitted to drive by law.
The vast majority of drivers on the roads will hold a category B driving licence, which qualifies them for category AM and entitles them to ride a moped or scooter of up to 50cc as long as the vehicle cannot exceed 45 kph.
Once a driver has held a category B driving licence for more than 3 years, they are legally allowed to ride motorcycles, scooters or mopeds in the A1 category of up to 125cc with a maximum power of 15hp.
From the age of 18, you are permitted to ride a motorcycle over 125cc, but your licence must include Category A. For this you will need to take some lessons and will need to take a motorcycle test.
For motorcycles over 500cc, you will need to be at least 20 years of age and hold a category A licence.
Category A and A1 licences must be renewed every 10 years for those up to 45 years of age, every 5 years for those aged between 45 and 70 years and every 2 years for those aged above 70.
Category B licence holders are also permitted to ride three-wheeled bikes and tricycles as long as two of the wheels are on the same axle. Quads are also permitted up to 550 kg and 30hp.
From the age of 15, you are entitled to ride a moped up to 50cc (45 kph maximum speed) but must first pass a simple road safety test and obtain written permission from a parent or guardian. A provisional driving license is also a requirement.
If you are not a Spanish resident, you must be at least 16 years of age before you can legally ride a moped here.
Note that any motorcycle or moped under 50cc may not be ridden on a motorway.
By law, motorcycles (not mopeds) must use daytime running lights/dipped headlights at all times.
Required Safety Equipment
Although you are required by law to wear a crash helmet, it's an all too common occurrence to see so many moped, scooter and motorcycle riders in Spain not wearing one!
EU laws is perfectly clear on this and states that any motorcycle, moped or quad on a public road must be ridden with the occupant/s wearing an ECE 22.05 approved safety helmet. Failure to do so can result in a fine of €100.
If you have a valid medical reason for not wearing one and can provide a medical certificate to prove it, you may be exempt from wearing a helmet.
Pillion Passenger Laws
Carrying a pillion passenger on a motorcycle or moped in Spain is perfectly legal, but there are specific rules that have to be adhered to when doing so.
Firstly, the passenger needs to be 12 years of age or above. However, there is an exception to this rule in that the passenger may be 7 years of age or above if the main rider is the parent, guardian or third party who has been authorised in writing by the parent or guardian.
The main rider must also have a full licence for the motorcycle and be over the age of 18. The vehicle also has to have the correct seating for a passenger and only one passenger is permitted at any one time.
Both the main rider and passenger need to wear crash helmets, which need to be fully fastened.
Two other stipulations are that the passengers feet need to be able to reach the motorcycles footrests and no passenger must travel between the main rider and the handlebars.
You will need to carry the following documentation with you:-
You should also carry a High Visibility jacket with you in the event of a breakdown.
Motorcycle Speed Limits
The speed limit for motorcycles and mopeds on Spanish roads are the following.
Moped and Motorcycle Road Tax
As with any motor vehicle on Spanish roads, you are liable to pay Spanish road tax or IVTM. For further details about IVTM including current prices, please see our other article https://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/180-car-road-tax-ivtm-in-spain-an-expat-s-guide.html
Mopeds and motorcycles like cars will need to periodically have an ITV inspection and will depend on its age.
Motorcycles are exempt from inspection for the first four years, then they have to take the test every two years.
Mopeds are exempt for the first three years and then must be tested every two years.
You can read more about the ITV test in Spain here https://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/118-all-about-the-car-itv-test-in-spain.html
When motorcycling in Spain, there is a minimum insurance cover of third party is a requirement for all moped and motorcycle riders.
Intercoms and Headsets
Intercoms and headsets that are attached to receiving devices are permitted in Spain as long as they are not inserted into the ear and thereby restricting the ability to hear external sounds.