man on bicycle in city at night

Authorities sanctioned 96 people in Portugal with the loss of points on their driving licenses due to bicycle offenses

Do you ride a bicycle? Know that you can lose points on your driving license if you commit serious or very serious offenses on the road: according to ‘Jornal de Notícias’, in the last seven years there have been 96 people sentenced to an accessory sanction of driving disqualification due to violations on a bicycle – 2020 was the year with the most offenders (35), and this year there have already been three people sanctioned. However, associations for bicycle mobility criticize what they say are “unequal” rules, pointing out that not all authorities are informed of the legislation.

According to ANSR – the National Road Safety Authority – “the accessory sanction of driving disqualification applies to anyone who holds a driving license and regardless of the type or class of vehicle”. In other words, a person with a driving license who commits a serious or very serious offense while on a bicycle, and is sentenced to an accessory sanction of driving disqualification, “loses points on their license”.

Let’s look at an example: driving a bicycle with headphones on or using a cell phone. This is considered a serious offense, which, in addition to the fine – between 60 and 300 euros – also involves an accessory sanction of being banned from driving motor vehicles for a month and a half. If you don’t have a driving license, your bike will be confiscated for the same period.

According to MUBi – Mobilidade Urbana em Bicicleta – “the unequal punishment” for cyclists with a driving license is “neither logical nor fair”. “License sanctions should only be applied when the infraction is committed while using the vehicle for which the license was issued,” he pointed out.

Between 2020 and November 30, the GNR recorded 401 serious offenses and 175 very serious offenses committed by cyclists. The main offenses were “driving with a blood alcohol level higher than that allowed by law and using or handling a cell phone while driving,” explained a GNR source.

However, the Highway Code states that fines for bicycle users are “reduced by half in their minimum and maximum limits”, except for fines established only for this type of driver.

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