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Is jaywalking legal in Spain?

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Is jaywalking legal in Spain?
A holiday makers crosses the road with an air matress in Los Cristianos on the southern coastline of Spain's Canary island of Tenerife.. (Photo by DESIREE MARTIN / AFP)

Though it might not seem like it, there are specific rules in place in Spain regarding whether you can cross the road whenever and wherever you want, and some hefty fines for those who fall foul of the laws.


If you take a stroll through a Spanish city centre, you might be forgiven for thinking jaywalking was legal.

With the narrow streets and bustling activity, in Spain people tend to cross wherever they like and sometimes even expect cars to stop for them.

Fortunately, Spanish drivers are generally quite good at stopping for pedestrians, especially on pedestrian crossings.

But legally speaking, crossing when and where you please where there isn't a zebra crossing could see you get into trouble. 

Jaywalking as it's known in English is actually illegal in Spain and can land you with a pretty hefty fine.


The term jaywalking will be nothing new for our American readers, but is essentially when pedestrians cross a road in a way that goes against traffic regulations.

Now, that could mean crossing on a red light, or it could mean (as is often the case in Spain) crossing wherever they like – that is to say, not on a zebra crossing.

Is jaywalking legal in Spain?

Simply put, no. In Spain, jaywalking is illegal and you can be fined if caught, technically speaking.

For crossing the road when the lights are red (something common and a rule rarely enforced) is actually a serious offence and, therefore, one for which you can be fined €200.

Similarly, crossing the road at the wrong place, in other words not at a designated pedestrian crossing and what constitutes jaywalking, could land you an €100 fine.

Note, technically speaking, though breathalyser tests are usually given to drivers, in Spain they can also be given to pedestrians who have committed an offence. Refusing to take one can land you a €1,000 fine, so if you jaywalk drunk and are caught, then refuse to take a breathalyser, it could potentially cost you as much as €1200 in total.


If you've spent time in Spain, however, you'll know that getting fined for jaywalking is very rare and you'd have to be very unlucky to be caught for it, let alone fined.

If your jaywalking theoretically caused an accident and was witnessed by a passing police officer, then you might be fined. But in reality jaywalking is, like so many things in Spain, something that is technically illegal but largely tolerated.

Article 49 of Spain's Traffic Law outlines the other key rules for pedestrians on Spanish roads:

1. Pedestrians must walk in the pedestrian area, except when this does not exist or is not usable, in which case they can do so on the hard shoulder or, failing this, on the carriageway, under the terms determined by regulation.

2. Outside built-up areas, and in built-up sections included in the development of a road which do not have a space specially reserved for pedestrians, whenever possible, pedestrians shall circulate on the left-hand side of the road.

3. Except in the cases and under the conditions determined by regulations, pedestrian traffic is prohibited on motorways and dual carriageways.


Can I cross the road if there’s an orange light in Spain?

When there’s a static orange light for vehicles, pedestrians should wait for their pedestrian traffic light to go green (in other words, for the ‘green man’ to appear).

If there’s an orange light flashing intermittently, pedestrians have preference to cross before vehicles do. But as we will explain now, they should keep their eyes peeled whilst doing so.

READ ALSO: Can you cross the road in Spain when the traffic light is orange? Yes and no


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Isabel Esteso 2024/02/01 11:41
Can you talk about the patinetas ? They don’t respect Anything no even the zebra than would be an interesting article in malaga ciudad we are scared of them and nobody knows s doing anything

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