New traffic rules benefit cyclists

New road traffic rules benefitting cyclists in Portugal have been included in the latest version of the Road Code, which was approved in Parliament on July 23.

The changes reinforce the status of bicycle riders, who will no longer have to travel at the far right edge of the road and two cyclists will be able to ride side by side.

Motor vehicles will have to maintain a lateral distance of at least 1.5 metres when overtaking bicycles, as well as reduce speed.

Bicycles on Portuguese roads will not be obliged to circulate only on their own reserved cycling paths and may also use the reserved routes for other vehicles, such as buses, if authorised by the respective municipal authority.

However, as a measure of safety, children up to the age of 10 can still ride their bicycles on pedestrian paths.

The Portuguese association for bicycle users FPCUB stated that “after 15 years of pressuring the competent authorities”, the long-awaited approval of these new regulations is seen as fundamental for the improvement of safety conditions for cyclists on Portuguese roads.

The President of Portugal still needs to ratify the updated Road Code before it can be implemented, probably later this year.