Healthier Ways to School
In addition to the car or school bus, there are other ways of getting to school; ways which may offer a healthier alternative such as cycling or walking.
If you are cycling, remember that when you are on the road, your bicycle is a vehicle just like any other. That means that the laws that apply to car drivers, for example, also apply to cyclists.
- You are not allowed to ride through red lights.
- You mustn’t use a mobile phone when cycling.
- The use of headphones, or anything that covers or plugs into the ear like headphones, is prohibited, so you can’t listen to music whilst on your bike.
- It is mandatory that your bike has a bell.
- Without exception you must always wear a helmet.
- Be courteous on your bike, be aware of your surroundings at all times and allow plenty of room if you are passing parked vehicles, looking out for anything or anyone who may be crossing between and for car doors opening.
- Wear high visibility clothing. This is mandatory during times of poor visibility, such as darkness or rain.
- Use lights at all times.
- The maximum number of cycles allowed side by side is 2 and only when no other vehicles need to pass. If there are other vehicles on the road, you must be in single file.
- Be seen by wearing high visibility clothing and walk in single file if no pavement exists.
- If walking in a group at night, you must also use lights at the front and back.
- Always be alert and careful.
Your journey to school can be healthy and fun, but always trying to make it as safe as it can be.
Advice For Those Not On The School Run – for those without children.
All road users must be reminded that traffic will increase at certain times of day as parents and guardians resume the school run.
It is normal for traffic to increase in the mornings, which in turn can result in delays. The same situation applies at the end of the school day. In Spain, schools operate a less robust timetable, adapting to such things as weather conditions and light and so the school day often varies from season to season. Be prepared for this changing timetable and allow extra time for all journeys.
There will be more buses on the roads, operating the school run. They will display a pictogram showing the type of service they are operating. School buses are subject to a restricted speed and when they stop, be aware that children may wander into the road. If a bus is indicating to pull out, please give way.
What Happens if You Don’t Pay a Traffic Fine?
The most common reasons are improper parking, speeding or even using their mobile whilst stopped at a traffic light. Many fines are issued remotely, with drivers caught out by one of the many cameras or by Pegasus on the DGT’s helicopters.
If you received a fine and it genuinely wasn’t you, (perhaps you’d let someone else drive your car, or even your number plate may have been cloned), it might just be a genuine mistake by the system. There is a process of contesting the fine, the details of which are published in English on the DGT’s website, dgt.es.
What are the consequences of ignoring or failing to pay a traffic fine?
You should have changed your UK driving licence for a Spanish one if you are living in Spain. You have two years to do so. If you have a UK licence and you are stopped to be dealt with for a traffic violation, you are treated as a tourist and, as such, you have to pay the fine on the spot, with a risk of your vehicle being immediately impounded if you don’t or can’t.
As a Spanish licence holder, most fines have a discount for prompt payment. The fine is reduced by 50% if it is paid within 20 calendar days following its notification (either by hand or by postal mail). During this period of time, the fine may also be appealed up to 30 days after it was received.
What if this period has passed?
After the initial time allowance, a new period known as an ‘executive procedure’ begins. If no payment has been made in the voluntary period, the sanction becomes fixed and the fine will arrive with a surcharge of 5% (without the possibility of a 50% discount). This step will be carried out automatically and without the need to notify you. Once that period has passed, the Tax Agency takes over the matter. They will then notify you with what is known as an ‘Enforcement Order’, a document indicating that the fine is applied, now with a 10% surcharge and a new payment period. If you continue with the intention of not paying, there will be a new notification, this time with a surcharge of 20% and also a new deadline for payment. Once this option has been exhausted, the matter becomes even more serious and you will be informed that the normal procedures have not been satisfactorily settled.
It is after a relatively short space of time that the Tax Agency begins to seize assets in order to settle the account, for example taking the money from your bank account. If you have no money in your account then the Tax Agency is able to obtain it through other revenue streams, such as directly from your salary or pension. If you still haven’t got enough to pay, then the next stage is for the Tax Agency to seize assets, such as real estate.
The Importance of Tyre Pressure
They are the hardest working element of most vehicles and yet, the part which we so frequently neglect, until they are in their worst possible condition. Proper tyre pressure is of vital importance for the safety of a vehicle, as well as to increase its efficiency and save on fuel (and, therefore, reduce its CO2 emissions).
Keeping a close eye on tyre pressure brings lots of benefits:
- Decreasing the possibility of a blowout.
- Greater precision in the direction of movement.
- Quicker correction against any unforeseen situations.
- Better cross-sectional grip when taking a curve.
- Reducing fuel consumption and engine effort.
It is recommended that tyres are checked at least monthly. The proper pressure will depend on the type of vehicle. The manufacturer has the obligation to indicate this, depending on the tyre and the transported load. All modern vehicles have a sticker or plate on the driver’s door frame that indicates this. Tyre checks should always be carried out before the vehicle has moved anywhere.
Most garages have tyre top up machines, which also have pressure gauges built in. These gauges are calibrated frequently and offer the most precise reading. Workshops will also be able to check your tyre pressure for you.