Saturday 4 April 2015

Riding through Spain to the H-D Rally in Jerez in June?

If you are, you might want to consider this law regarding listening to music or communications systems, which includes motorcycle communications systems.

Basically, the use of any music or communication system with headphones or earphones is illegal. That means ear-buds for listening to music, or even speakers inside your helmet for talking to pillions or to other riders, is prohibited. You might want to consider this before riding in Spain.

This is the relevant part of the law, translated by Google…..

23514 Royal Decree 1428/2003, of November 21, by which approves the General Regulation Circulation for the implementation and development articulated text of the Law on traffic, circulation motor vehicles and road safety, approved by Royal Legislative Decree 339/1990 of 2 March.

Article 18, says: Article 18. Other duties of drivers. 1. The driver of a vehicle must maintain their freedom of movement, the required field vision and ongoing attention to driving, to ensure their own safety, the rest of the vehicle occupants and other users of route. For this purpose , you must take special care maintain proper position and that maintain other passengers, and proper placement of the objects or animals transported for no interference between the driver and any of them ( Article 11.2 articulated text). It is considered incompatible with compulsory attendance driving permanent use by the driver with the vehicle moving devices such as screens with Internet access , television monitors and VCR or DVD. Exceptions to these effects, the use of screens that are in view of driver and whose use is necessary for vision Access or down pedestrians or vision vehicles with rear camera manoeuvres and GPS device. 2. It is prohibited to drive and use headphones or earphones connected to receivers or sound players, except for the corresponding teaching and conducting aptitude tests open for obtaining driving licenses circuit two-wheeled motorcycle when so required by the Regulations on Drivers. Use is prohibited while driving mobile devices and other means system or communication, unless the development Communication takes place without using hands or use headphones, earphones or similar instruments (Article 11.3, second paragraph of text articles). Exempted from this prohibition agents authority in the exercise of the functions that have entrusted (Article 11.3, third paragraph of text Articulated). 3. It is prohibited in vehicles mechanisms are installed
or systems, instruments are carried or upgraded manner designed to evade surveillance the traffic police, or to be issued or made signs for this purpose, and the use of mechanisms radar detection.

So, the law is quite clear and you mustn’t do this.

A few years back, a friend and I were riding through Spain and we were using a bike-to-bike communications system to talk to each other as we rode. Early one morning, we were stopped by the Guarda Civil who, having seen the cables leading into our helmets, told us we must disconnect these and stop using them. They were very polite and told us it was illegal and didn’t prosecute us and we clearly were surprised by this unusual law.


Trobairitz said...

Wow. Do they think it is too distracting to riders?

While we don't listen to music when we ride, we do have Senas for communicating.

This seems a bit discriminating to me if people in cars and SUVs can legally eat, listen to music, and talk to passengers while driving.

RichardM said...

Driving or riding with headphones of any kind has been illegal for a long time. I remember people getting pulled over if they were wearing headphones in the days of Sony Walkmans and that was back in the mid-80s. I thought that was the reason for the helmet speakers with devices like the Sena. To me, no different than speakers in your car or mounted on the fairing or handlebars.

Geoff James said...

Is it only the Spanish who mandate this Gary? I presume they have motorcycle police who are fully equipped with comms systems?

I'm like Brandy, only use the Sena for communicating and I can see plenty of safety benefits from that kind of use.

A bit puzzled - thought it would be more of a French trait to be perfidious :-)

Oz said...

Very surprising. Communications are so helpful.

Gary France said...

I can sort of understand this law, even though I don’t agree with it. I can see that the Spanish police would probably agree that bike-to-bike comms is a good idea, but how could they ever uphold the law when they would have to distinguish what people are listening too. How could they tell if someone was listening to a riding partner chat, or were they listening to loud music? Wearing headphones or earphones in a car effectively shuts out all other road noise and it does too if listening to music on a bike through speakers in the helmet. That is different to listening to music in a car via speakers or even on a motorcycle via speakers.

Gary France said...

Yes Geoff, only the Spanish I think. I think as I said above, their rational could only be they cannot tell what someone is listening to, just be looking, so have an outright ban. However, I don’t agree with it, because as you say, there are plenty of safety benefits from bike-to-bike comms.

Gary France said...

Are you saying Geoff that the French do things without good reason? Hang on, you are right.....

David Masse said...

I have to agree with Richard. Sena speakers are not headphones. I ride with earplugs and a Sena, and listen to music, amd I hear surrounding traffic about the same way I do in the car with the windows closed and the radio on.

Last year when I spotted dangerous debris on the highway I was able to alert police via the Sena.

Not very intelligent rule making. But that rule is in good company in Spain because there's other stuff on the books that is equally helpful in other areas.

InvictaMoto said...

I have ridden in Spain many times with a Cardo Scala outfit connected to my TomTom (and before that Garmin) satnav and have never been stopped even when stopped at traffic lights alongside police cars and bikes.

The problem may only arise if you do something else daft or dangerous that attracts their attention.

I never listen to music on mine only to traffic directions and under real emergency - the phone that links via the TomTom.

InvictaMoto said...

I checked with a friend who works at RACE in Madrid.

He says -

"The Rules of the road says in Article 18 Section 2 of the following:

"It is forbidden to use headphones or connected to receivers or sound reproducing apparatus, except during the corresponding teaching headphones and conducting tryouts open for obtaining driving license for two-wheel motorcycles circuit when required by the Regulations on Drivers.

Use is prohibited while driving mobile devices and any other means or communication system, except when developing communication takes place without using hands or wear helmets, headphones or similar instruments (Article 11.3, second paragraph of articulated) text.

Exempted from the ban's enforcement officers in the exercise of the functions that have entrusted (Article 11.3, third paragraph of text articles). "

Therefore it would be forbidden, but really there is a loophole, because the court of Zaragoza, in the judgement of June 22, 2010, ruled in favour of a motorist who had been fined for carrying and using intercoms, claiming that:

... It is a small headphones that are placed on the hull, not the ears, but against these. This seems to lead us to conclude that this is a headset, and therefore the prohibition is violated, but the fact is that the difference between a speaker and headset becomes not the shape or size, but the form of use, so that the headset is in contact with the inner part of the ear, blocking the ear, which is to prevent or greatly hinder the reception of other noises, covered by the handset and usually overcome by the sound coming out of it, besides producing or promoting a certain self-absorption of the driver.

Therefore, in this configuration, by not going glued to the ear, we are rather to a speaker that does not stick to the ear and in principle can have a limiting effect on the perception of external noise, which adds to the that if it produces the helmet, but it is actually similar to a speaker inside a car (car well soundproofed and powerful music apparatus hardly hear outside if it takes a certain amount that), the which is not prohibited.

In short, we may find ourselves alleged that the legislation would prohibit wanted but not exactly fit the ban, or at least raises serious doubts, and therefore, pending regulatory clarification possible, apply the principle of in dubio pro reo, which proceeds to estimate the resource and waive the penalty.

Anonymous said...

How about earplugs?? We were reprimanded last year for wearing them and warned that we'd be fined the next time.

redlegsrides said...

Wonder how long the rest of the EU will go this route?

WooleyBugger said...

I do see them as distractions myself. When I'm riding I want to get shed of all that sort of stuff and enjoy the ride and scenery that abounds around me. If I need to, or want to point something out I use hand gestures/signals. The music would be nice but then again on a bike I want to be really aware of what's going on.
It's a funny, my brother and his wife were getting new helmets and she wanted them to have a communication system. He said no and she pushed for it. He told her Okay, you can get one but I don't know who you'll be talking to.