Back in 2005 an informal and very small group of local cyclists searched and compiled
the best Cycling practices of highway codes from 15 Countries of the European Union.
Those were translated and adapted to become a submitted proposal to change the Portuguese highway code, in order to offer more rights and protection to cyclists and pedestrians.
Although it seemed a very ambitious, if not a daunting task,
for the following years, as the document went on
and more people looked at it, more people and groups supported it
and eventually most cyclist’s suggestions were discussed, fine touched and accepted.
We are thrilled to announce that Portugal’s Highway Code from January 1st 2014
does grant additional rights to those cycling in Portugal!
On this website you will find a full transcription of Portugal’s Highway Code and a PDF (only available in Portugues) with the original official document, both in Portuguese and highlighted.
Our understanding of the highway code from 1st January 2014.
Although Portuguese Highway Code is being enforced to become effective it requires from Portuguese Authorities major campaigns informing and promoting it, as well new roads signals and marks put in place.
Always be cautious, as it will take a while before it changes.
Cyclists and Pedestrians are considered vulnerable road users and drivers must pay special attention to avoid endangering them.
1. Children up to 10 years old are allowed
to cycle on sidewalks and pedestrian streets as long as pedestrians are not put at risk.
2. Cyclists should ride with hands on handlebars (except for maneuvering) and feet on pedals.
3. Bike Lanes are optional only for cyclists.
Pedestrians are only allowed on bike lanes if no other option is left.
4. Cyclists crossing on sign posted and road painted bike zebras will have right way,
just like pedestrians on their zebra crossings.
5. Cyclists are allowed on road shoulders as long as pedestrians are not endangered.
6. Although fairly accepted, Cyclists are not allowed on Bus Lanes,
except if the local municipality regulates it differently.
On Shared Lanes, also regulated at municipality level,
Cyclists and Pedestrians have the right of way.
7. Cyclists should ride on the right side of the road
but are allowed to keep a safe distance from curbs, sewer grates or potholes.
Ultimately should take lane to ensure their safety.
8. Cyclists are allowed to ride side by side (pair) as long it is safe and traffic is not disrupted.
9. Cyclists have the right of way when showing up from the right at any junction with no road signs.
10. Those inside a roundabout have right of way over those willing to enter.
Cyclists inside roundabout should use only the outside lane
and give way to those willing to exit roundabout.
11. Vehicles overtaking cyclists should slowdown, use next lane
and give room of 1.5mt (5ft) or more to cyclists.
12. Cyclists on e-bikes should wear helmets.