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, or visiting for your holidays and looking to hire one, you will need to understand the laws when it comes to motorcycling in Spain.
Read our guide below which is full of information and tips on motorcycling in Spain 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.
There are four different classes of licence in Spain which entitle you to ride a motorcycle. These are the AM, A1, A2 and A class and are similar to those in the UK.
Let's look at each one below.
The vast majority of drivers on the roads will already hold a category B driving licence, which qualifies them for category AM and entitles them to ride a moped, scooter or lightweight ATV with two or three wheels of up to 50cc as long as the vehicle cannot exceed 45 kph.
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 take a 20 question written test of which you must get at least 18 correct.
You also have to be in possession of a provisional driving licence and obtain written permission from a parent or guardian.
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 (without sidecar) with a maximum power of 15hp.
The minimum age requirement to hold an A1 class licence is 16 years.
Note that if you hold an A1 licence, you are also entitled to ride motor tricycles with a maximum power output of 15 kW (A motor tricycle is an ATV with a maximum GVM of 400 kg, or 550 kg if it is used for hauling loads).
If you are the holder of an A1 licence, you are permitted to ride vehicles in the AM licence category.
To obtain an A1 category licence you will have to take four different tests. These are:-
To obtain the A2 class of licence, you will need to be at least 18 years of age.
The A2 licence enables the holder to drive/ride all of the vehicles under the A1 class along with motorcycles with a max output of 35 kW/47 hp with or without a sidecar.
Like the A1 licence, you will need to take four different tests to be granted one. They are:-
Once you have held your A2 licence for at least two years, you may apply for an A-Class licence.
The licence entitles the holder to drive any motorcycle of any power output or weight on public roads including those under the AM, A1 and A2 categories.
To hold this licence you must be at least 20 years of age.
From the age of 18, you are allowed 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 as outlined above.
Obtaining Your Driving Licence In Spain
The following page from the DGT traffic authority provides you with everything you need to know about the different driving licences in Spain including how to get one, associated fees, the points system, taking your test, choosing a driving school and lots more.
Renewing Motorcycle Licences
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.
Renting a Scooter or Moped in Spain
If you are not a Spanish resident and visiting Spain for your holidays, you must be at least 18 years of age and be in possession of a Class B driving licence before you can ride a 50cc moped here. If you have held your driver's licence for at least 3 years, you can hire a motorcycle with an engine of up to 125cc.
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 law 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 can 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 passenger's feet need to be able to reach the footrests of the motorcycle 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 as follows.
In May, 2021, new speed limits for built-up areas such as cities, towns and villages came into force. You can read more about these via our page, Spain's New Urban Speed Limits Come Into Force From May 11
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 which 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.
Private Health Insurance in Spain for Expats
Please check out our current range of expat private health insurance products all of which are in English and underwritten by Bupa.