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Only Joe King

A light-hearted look at life in Andalucía and Spain in general. Its good points and its bad. This blog doesn't pull any punches.

Road Traffic Hazards in Spain
Friday, October 1, 2021 @ 7:28 PM

There are many more road traffic hazards in Spain than in the UK, contends long-time resident of the Serranía de Ronda Joe King.

Apart from the obvious road traffic hazards like drunk drivers, Sunday drivers and motorcyclists, there are many more here in southern Spain.

The latest hazard is posed by these ridiculous stand-on scooters, patinetes, which are not only a danger to their riders but also to other road users and pedestrians. They’re worse than the Sinclair C5, if you’re old enough to remember that folly!


People in/on vehicles

White van men – yes, they exist here too, and they are as bad and as inconsiderate as their British counterparts.

Delivery drivers – similar to the above, these drivers appear to stop wherever they fancy, irrespective of yellow lines, no parking signs, etc.

Fast drivers – the Spanish have a bit of a reputation for fast/dangerous driving. I’m sure they know what they’re doing, but it’s unnerving for other road users.

Drunk drivers – much more of a problem here than in the UK. The limit here is lower, yet driving above it is rife. Oddly, foreigners, who wouldn’t dream of drink driving in their home land, seem to think it’s ok here. It’s not!

Cyclists – particularly around the Serranía and especially at the weekends. They’re entitled to use the roads (although they don’t pay anything in the form of an annual road tax, like we users of motor vehicles), but why do they have to ride two and sometimes three-abreast?

Motorcyclists – my wife calls them “organ donors” because of the way they ride. Others have remarked that they seem to have a death wish. The number of accidents is very high on the mountain roads of the Serranía.

Coches sin permiso - these little pop-pops are a real threat. They’re so slow they are dangerous. Drivers of normal cars get frustrated being stuck behind them and often overtake where they shouldn’t.

Rogue parkers –drivers of 4 x 4s, or “Chelsea tractors”, seem to think they are immune from parking violations. Park where you like, including on pedestrian crossings, slap on the flashers and you’ll be ok.

Sudden stoppers – these are drivers who suddenly stop without warning to let their wives/sons/daughters get out of the car. They tend to favour pedestrian crossings too!

Patinete riders – as mentioned in the introduction, these are particularly dangerous. They ride on the wrong side of the road, on pavements, along pedestrianized streets. You don’t need a licence or any training to use one on the public roads. It’s not on.


People on foot

Jaywalkers – this is a problem throughout the world, although I don’t recommend it in the USA or Germany – you could get fined! In Ronda, where I live, they’re a menace.

Tourists – similar to jaywalkers, they seem to think they have right of way on the streets.

Legion joggers – near where I live, in the early morning, the roads and country lanes are full of joggers from the Spanish Foreign Legion, whose base is across the road. They take up a lot of space.

Cholesterol pilgrims – these are the good folk of Montejaque (Málaga) who regularly walk the five kilometres or so from the village to Venta La Vega (kilómetro 19 on the Seville road) in order to keep their cholesterol levels down. So they won’t die of cholesterol poisoning - they’re more likely to snuff it from being run over. In the summer they do this pilgrimage pre-dawn, when it’s cooler. Some wear gilets jaunes, yellow vests, but not all. And they’re the ones most at risk!

Dog walkers – especially if their dog is off the lead. My dog, Berti, albeit in the care of someone else at the time, was hit by a speeding driver while off the lead and was killed earlier this year.

Employees of conservación – these road maintenance guys don’t always set up a proper safety system when they’re trimming verges, so you come round a corner to be confronted by men at the roadside working and the road strewn with, for example, cut dried grass.

Waiters – some bars and restaurants have their terrace across the road from their premises. The waiters are back and forth in front of traffic. Potentially dangerous for the waiters.

Pretty women/men – a problem the world over. Drivers can be distracted by a thing of beauty by the side of the road, especially in summer when clothing is more sparse!



Sheep and goats – around the Serranía, you can often come across a flock of sheep or goats, although they are usually under the control of a shepherd/ goatherd and a dog. On some roads, wild goats just wander where they want. They don’t seem to be familiar with the highway code!

Wildlife – deer, in particular, but occasionally wild boar or even horses and cattle, can escape their enclosure and stand in the road. This is common at night.

Stray dogs – as above.


Static objects

Roundabouts – Spain has fallen in love with the roundabout. It’s like Milton Keynes in the UK! Problem is most Spanish drivers don’t have a clue about how to navigate them. Why is it ok to be in the outside lane when you plan to exit at 9 o’clock?

Bar terraces – In towns, they are simply in the way! They seem to make the street narrower.

Potholes – lots of these, especially after heavy rain or frosts. If you drive through them you can damage the suspension of your car. If you veer to avoid them you could cause an accident.

Roadside advertising – largely banned nowadays, those that remain are still a distraction.

Sleeping policemen – these traffic-calming humps are well-intentioned, of course, but some of them are really high and, quite frankly, a nuisance.



Silly speed limits – why is the maximum speed limit on main roads 90kph? It’s too slow and therefore dangerous. The 120 on motorways is a bit slow too. Since almost everybody ignores the limits, why not raise them?

Fallen rocks after heavy rain – quite a problem on all roads around the Serranía. You just have to be on your guard and hope nothing lands on top of your car!

Fallen trees or branches after a storm – as above.

Roads with no barriers – there are still some roads without barriers, so if you come off the road you could be in for a nasty surprise – if you survive the drop, that is!


So, as you can see, it’s potentially pretty hazardous out there on the roads. Maybe we should just stay at home, lie on the sofa and watch TV.


Like 0


nigel188 said:
Friday, October 1, 2021 @ 10:39 PM

A liitle more on the Traffic Hazards in Spain

Patinete riders should be licenced and wear Crash Helmets if travellling on a public Road

Roundabouts- Private Cars, light delivery vehicles parking on a Roundabout so that extended length supermarket lorries etc are hindered when negotiating these traffic control measures

Good article
thank you
Nigel Nevshehir

PablodeRonda said:
Saturday, October 2, 2021 @ 6:02 AM

Hi, Nigel. Thanks for your kind comment and also for the additional information.
I saw something on the News this week about patinete riders having to wear helmets, but thought that hadn't been brought in yet.
Yes, of course, roundabout parkers - an absolute hazard!

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