There have been a number of reports in the press regarding drivers in Spain being fined for driving in the
centre lane of a motorway, even when the road is clear. This is an offence and drivers who do so can be
fined, but the reality is, other than we drive on the right in Spain, there is no difference to the UK, where
“middle lane hogging” is also an offence.
Looking at how the two countries compare on roads with more than one lane in the direction of travel, if
we first look at the UK, and what Rule 264 of the Highway Code states.
“You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a
number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely
Comparing that to Spain, where we drive on the right, in fact the rule says as far to the right as possible,
Article 31 of the Reglamento General Circulacion is where we see rules for normal traffic flow explained.
“On roads with more than one lane for the direction of travel, the normal flow of traffic is in the right
hand lane, although you can use the other lane(s) when traffic circumstances dictate”, there is also an
extension of the rule which states “provided you do not hinder the progress of another vehicle”.
Although the wording is slightly different, bearing in mind the Spanish version is an interpretation for
ease of understanding and not a literal translation, the concept is the same. Under normal traffic
circumstances, unless traffic determines otherwise, in the UK we should always drive in the left-hand
lane, in Spain we should always use the right-hand lane.
The problem has always been one of understanding the rules of the road. The concept forms an integral
part of UK driver training, and has done for many years. You only have to look through historic copies of
the Highway Code and you will see the rules clearly printed. But it is a rule seemingly difficult for many
In 2004, the UK launched a pilot scheme with road signs pointing out the correct lane discipline, and yet
these were still largely ignored.
More recently, the UK changed their procedure for dealing with drivers who remain in the centre lane,
by changing the procedure for reporting the offence and making it punishable by fixed penalty notice,
thus drivers can be fined on the spot and be 100 pound out of pocket.
Back in Spain, the same process is already in place. That is why drivers are issued with on the spot fines,
not because they are targeted for being foreigners or any of the other excuses that have been made, but
because driving in the right-hand lane is the normal procedure for the flow of traffic, and the fact that
“nobody else was around” is not a justifiable excuse for committing any offence.
It’s the perfect combination if you can raise money for a worthwhile cause
whilst having fun. That’s what a group of volunteers have been doing on
behalf of the Samaritans in Spain. They took part in a sponsored Zip Wire at
La Rufeta to raise money for suicide awareness.
The Samaritans in Spain receive many calls from people who are
experiencing such emotional distress that they are considering taking their
own life. Through encouraging people to talk and giving time, the volunteers
who are on the end of the Samaritan’s help line provide a much needed
However, it’s also important that society generally is aware and understands
the issues associated with suicide, depression and mental health generally.
There is still stigma around the subject that can prevent people from coming
forward when they really need to.
Events such as this are hoped to raise awareness generally amongst the
public. On this occasion it was organised by Maureen and Colin Smith of San
Luis, Torrevieja. Those participating included Maureen, Colin, Johnno, Kath
and Alex. Recording the event for posterity and a little publicity too was
Warren Bradley. Thanks go to all those who took part on the day as well as
those who sponsored them.
Officers from the National Police have arrested two people in connection with an alleged
labour exploitation offence in an agricultural and livestock farm in Almoradí. One of the
detainees is an entrepreneur who had allegedly given instructions to employees – usually
foreigners in the country without papers – to hide in the manure heap on the farm to avoid
detection should any officials came calling.
The two are alleged to have committed a crime of documentary misrepresentation and crimes
against the rights of workers. Police were alerted to a potentially illegal situation at the farm
following a complaint lodged at police stations in Murcia, tipping officers off regarding a
series of irregularities within the small holding.
Officers from the National Police began a joint investigation and verified that at the farm
appeared to be committing irregularities in the level of labour it employed. In addition, the
company did not have the required safety equipment which is included in the regulations on
the Prevention of Occupational Risks. Owners were also leasing accommodation to the
workers, which were little more that ‘booths’ located inside the farm, some of them with
‘very little safety conditions or comforts’.
At the time of the police and labour inspection, two retired foreign nationals were also
According to the statements of those involved, it is believed that the employer allegedly used
to hire foreigners who were desperate for work as they had no official or legal paperwork. It
is said that the employer gave them strict instructions on how to act in case of a police
presence, such as hiding in the manure heap on the farm ‘to avoid detection’.
In addition, the farm manager is alleged to have made up an employment relationship with
another person in order for the pretend worker to obtain certain ‘administrative benefits’ for
foreigners through a false work contract. This falsehood was detected by the Office of
Foreigners in Murcia and notice was given to the Labour Inspection Unit of Alicante, which
annulled all fraudulent benefits of this alleged worker.
The investigators have arrested the employer and the person who simulated this non-existent
employment relationship and who was also in an irregular situation in Spain. Both, after
being heard in court have been released with charges.
We have just passed the busiest part of the summer, however, with so many people visiting for the
first time, we thought we’d share our top 10 tips for driving in Spain.
1. In Spain we drive on the right. It might seem like an obvious thing to say but many people do
forget. In fact, the law says we should drive as far to the right as possible, so don’t go
hogging lanes. Also, remember, we go anticlockwise on roundabouts.
2. Speed limits are a maximum, not a target, and remember, they are kilometres per hour.
Most signs are the same as in the UK but a blue square is a recommended maximum.
3. Seatbelts. All vehicle occupants must wear a seatbelt. If there are only 2 seatbelts in the
back, only 2 people can sit there. Seatbelts must be worn properly too, not under the arm.
4. Kids. Children are not allowed to sit in the front seat. In fact, it is children under 1.35 metres,
irrespective of their age, who must sit in the back. They must also be in an approved
restraint suitable for them. The only exception is when there aren’t any rear seats, like a
sports car, or when the seats are already occupied by smaller children.
5. Alcohol. Spain has a much lower limit than many other countries. However, the best advice
if you’re driving is don’t drink at all. The same applies to drugs, but if you’re on prescription
medication be careful as these can sometimes affect your driving.
6. Never use your mobile when driving. That goes for any device actually. You are allowed to
use your phone as a GPS sat nav, but you mustn’t touch it when you’re driving. Program it
before you set off and stop in a safe, convenient and legal place if you have to change it.
7. Some traffic lights have filter arrows. If the light is red but the filter arrow pointing right is
orange, you are allowed to turn right, just remember to give way to traffic already on the
8. When exiting a roundabout, always exit from the right-hand lane, irrespective of how many
lanes there are. Unless signs or signals say otherwise.
9. Traffic police vehicles have blue lights illuminated all the time. If you see these blue lights it
doesn’t mean pull over or stop. They use flashing red lights to stop you, or flashing white
lights from the front.
10. If you get into difficulties or an emergency, dial 112 from any phone. The operators speak
many languages, including English, and are there to help. One thing though, try to identify
exactly where you are before you phone, as this will make it easier for help to find you.
Overall, enjoy your holiday is Spain, stay safe, drive carefully and remember these rules. For
more detailed explanations, visit the website, n332.es
Football is perhaps more often associated with racism than standing up
against it. Now Torrevieja town hall are hoping to reverse the trend by holding
their own mundialito or ‘world cup’ against racism on the 16 th September. It is
planned that eight mixed teams will take part.
The tournament is not only being held to raise awareness of racism and
xenophobia but also to promote gender equality through sport and to support
the local volunteers who help children with special needs. The tournament
was announced by Councillor Victor Ferrández and is supported by the
University of Alicante.
The tournament will take place in the town sports’ facilities as part of the
campaign ‘Torrevieja para Todas’ or ‘Torrevieja for everyone’. Councillor
Ferrández states; ‘This is the first football tournament to raise awareness of
the dangers of racism and xenophobia in football.’ It is an unusual event but
one that is hoped to convey a very important message and denounce
The teams will be mixed in order to also draw attention to gender equality in
sport. Those taking part will donate two euros per player and this contribution
will go towards APANEE which is the parents’ association who raise money
for children with special needs.
There will be a football exhibition with participants from both the male and
female teams of Alicante University and Torrevieja Football Club. Being held
at the beginning of September, those taking part will not find it easy to play.
They, along with their sponsors, recognise the value of an event such as this
and it is hoped that more combined sporting events will take place in the
If you’re interested in taking part then you can email email@example.com .
Registration closes on the 10 th September.
Tues 15 th August
Boston Tavern, Torreblanca – Steve The Entertainer – 8.45pm
La Bodegueta, Lo Crispin – Richie Alexander – 9pm
The Pub, Masa Square – Greg Bannis, Ex Hot Chocolate – 8.30pm
YOLO, Cabo Roig strip – David John Williams – Rod Stewart Show – 10pm
La Marina Sports Complex – Diverse Duo – 9pm
Olympia Pool and Gardens, Mil Palmeras – Lady Jazz – 8.30pm
Abbey Tavern, La Florida – Twobacks – 9pm
Villamartin Plaza – Jason Isaacs – 9pm
The Stray Sod, La Fuente – Bella Luna – 10pm
Weds 16 th August
Rogers, Masa Square, Gran Alacant – DJ Veg Karaoke party – 10pm
Pablo’s International, Playa Flamenca – Johnny Scott – 6pm
The Local, La Florida – Richie Alexander – 6pm
Georgiou’s Café Bar, Blue Lagoon – Duncan Disorderly – 9pm
Leaf’s, Lo Marabu – Juanjo – 4pm
Bamboo Lounge, Entre Naranjos – Big Jam – 5.30pm
Bar Piscina, Lago Jardin – Soul Sounds With Brian – 9pm
Camping Florantilles, San Miguel – Poolside Jam with Chloe Leigh – 2.30pm
La Marina Sports Complex – Paula Molina – 9pm
Park Inn, Quesada – Samantha Curtis – 8pm
Abbey Tavern, La Florida – Steve Clark – 9pm
Skybar, Hotel Meridional, Guardamar – Flamenco Show – 10.30pm
Jukebox Bar, CC Eden, Guardamar – Ian Deverall Cabaroke – 9pm
Villamartin Plaza – DJ Snoopy – 9pm
The Stray Sod, La Fuente – Ali & Che, Kolted Duo – 10pm
Thurs 17 th August
Boston Tavern, Torreblanca – Johnny Scott – 8.45pm
El Rey, Balsicas – Greg Bannis, Ex Hot Chocolate – 8pm
Camping Florantilles, San Miguel – Curtis – 9pm
Tradewinds, La Fuente – Emily Hullman – 10pm
YOLO, Cabo Roig Strip – Richie Alexander – 10pm
The Local, La Florida – Dougie Monroe – 9pm
Leaf’s, Lo Marabu – Raymond – 7pm
The Arches Bar, Los Alcazares – Samantha Curtis – 9pm
Abbey Tavern, La Florida – Magic of the King – 9pm
La Zenia Boulevard – Zarazofan Celtic Band – 8pm
Villamartin Plaza – The Conectados – 9pm
The Stray Sod, La Fuente – The Cages – 10pm
Fri 18 th August
Chemie’s Bar, Villamartin Plaza – Phil Collins Tribute, Rob Lewis – 10pm
Pablo’s International, Playa Flamenca – Steve The Entertainer – 9pm
Rogers, Masa Square – Paul Michael show – 9pm
Orange Bar, Entre Naranjos – Trev B – 9pm
Baby Owl, La Finca, Algorfa – Rob Sweeney – 9pm
Olympia Pool and Gardens, Mil Palmeras – Greg Bannis, Ex Hot Chocolate –
El Balons Tapas Bar, Los Balcones – Soul Sounds With Brian – 9pm
Emerald Isle, La Florida – Richie Alexander – 9pm
Restaurante Christopher, Mar Azul, Torrevieja – Celena Deans – 9pm
La Marina Sports Complex – Bella Luna – 9pm
Casa Xu, La Siesta – 8pm – Chloe Leigh – 8pm
Abbey Tavern, La Florida – Juan Angel – 9pm
La Zenia Boulevard – Gypsy Kings Tribute – 8pm
Bamboo Lounge, Entre Naranjos – Dan Davy – 9pm
Meson Galea, Torretta III – Raymond and his Accordian – 9pm
Hillside, La Marina – Tony Peacock – 9pm
Sat 19 th August
The Club, Quesada – Curtis UK talented guitar/ vocalist – 12€ – 7.30pm
United Golf Resort, La Tercia, – Rob Lewis, Phil Collins Tribute – 8pm
Hillside, La Marina – Benidorm Tina, Tina Turner Show – 9pm
La Bodegueta, Lo Crispin – Bella Luna – 9pm
Pablo’s International, Player Flamenca – Diana Ross Tribute, Celena Deans –
Gallego Playa, El Piñet – Melissa Fanning – 9pm
Posh Club, La Marina – Mickey Lewys from Benidorm – 7.30pm
The Med, El Raso – Paul Michael – 8pm
Boston Tavern, Torreblanca – Francis Sings – 9pm
Camping Florantilles, San Miguel – Pool party with Saxy Chris Packett – 3pm
La Piedra, Gran Alacant – Steve the Entertainer – 9pm
Players Lounge, Villamartin Plaza – Greg Bannis, Ex Hot Chocolate – 10pm
La Pedrera, Bigastro – Johnny Scott – 9pm
Bar Piscina, Lago Jardin – Soul Sounds With Brian – 9pm
The Local, La Florida – Richie Alexander – 9pm
La Marina Sports Complex – Duo Montana – 9pm
The Abbey, La Florida – Deja Neilsen – 10pm
Eduardo’s Restaurant, Villamartin Plaza – David John Williams – 8.30pm
Cat’s Bar, Camposol sector A – Chloe Leigh – 9pm
Orange Bar, Entre Naranjos – Samantha Curtis – 9pm
Abbey Tavern, La Florida – Deja Neilsen – 9pm
Jukebox Bar, Guardamar – Reggae with Emma Rose – 9pm. 10€ inc. Hog
roast and cocktail.
Olympia Pool and Gardens, Mil Palmeras – Indiana Highway – 9.30pm
Chemie’s Bar, Villamartin Plaza – Paul Allen – 9.30pm
The Stray Sod, La Fuente – Kolted – 10pm
Bar Europa, Playa Flamenca CC – Mr Shifty – 10pm
Meson Galea, Torretta III – Karaoke with Rob Stewart – 9pm
Georgious Café Bar, Blue Lagoon – Duncan Disorderly – 9pm
Sun 20 th August
Orange Bar, Entre Naranjos – Steve The Entertainer – 9pm
El Nuevo Valle, Hondon de Los Frailles – Diana Ross Tribute Show – 8pm
YOLO, Cabo Roig Strip – Phil Collins Tribute, Rob Lewis – 10pm
Olympia Pool and Gardens, Mil Palmeras – Curtis UK Top act – 8.30pm
The Clover, Condado de Alhama – Francis Sings – 4pm
Panache Restaurant, Cabo Roig – Saxy Johan – 7.30pm
Stray Sod, La Zenia – Michael Jackson Dance plus Gypsy Kings – 8pm
Fairways, Villamartin Plaza – Richie Alexander – 9.30pm
La Marina Sports Complex – Woody – 8.30pm
Pablo’s International, Playa Flamenca – Deja Nielsen – 9pm
Ocean’s Bar, Carabassi, Gran Alacant – Johnny Scott – 9pm
Abbey Tavern, La Florida – Gran Flamenco Show – 9pm
Phoenix Nights, San Miguel – Chloe Leigh – 4pm
Camping Florantilles, San Miguel – Chloe Leigh – 9pm
Chemie’s Bar, Villamartin Plaza – Flashback – 9.30pm
The Stray Sod, La Fuente – Gypsy Kings – 10pm
Mon 21 st August
Tradewinds, La Fuente – Richie Alexander – 9pm
The Local, La Florida – Rod Stewart Tribute – 9.30pm
Bar Kenz, San Luis – Samantha Curtis – 8.30pm
Abbey Tavern, La Florida – Magic of the King – 9pm
The Stray Sod, La Fuente – The Cages Acoustic – 10pm
Hillside, La Marina – Abba and Josh – 9pm
– Part 2
Continuing with our interview taken from N332 RoadWatch magazine, we explain more of the
questions raised through erroneous posts on some websites, social media and, occasionally, in print.
3º. Drinking water whilst driving. 100€ fine.
The first thing you have to think is; how are you going to open the bottle? You usually need both
hands, right? If you have a passenger and they open the bottle for you or you have any type of bottle
where you don´t need to use both hands, providing that you do it carefully, you can use it, using just
one hand for a short period of time. Remember you need both hands to hold the steering wheel and
use the indicators.
When someone has been fined for this, it is because they were caught driving and trying to open the
bottle whilst driving, or driving with the bottle/can in one hand which it is strictly forbidden. No
police will fine you for taking a sip for a few seconds. Imagine on a long journey in the summer if you
would have to stop every time that the driver wanted to drink water… Please use common sense!
4º. Putting your hand, elbow or arm out of the window. 80€ fine.
If you put your arm or hand out of the car window whilst driving, how are you going to use the
indicators? If you have your elbow on the window whilst still handling the steering wheel, although
this is not best practice, it is not a problem as long as you can drive properly, indicating all
manoeuvres. This fine is applied for those drivers who have had their hands or arms out of the
window for several minutes of driving in that position, not for doing it for a few seconds. Remember,
drivers can also use hand signals, so this can also be confusing to other drivers.
5º. Driving with a hat / cap that covers the ears. 80€ fine.
As I said, we haven´t written the original post. Someone decided to play a joke, including many fines
which don´t exist among other legal ones. Using a cap/hat doesn´t affect the way you drive, this is
one of the weirdest questions I have answered during all my years as a traffic officer. How can
people believe that you can be fined for this?
6º. Eating ice cream whilst driving. 100€ fine.
Traffic Law states that you need both hands to drive so the difference with the water is that you
need to occupy your hands during a long period of time, so this is true.
7º. Driving with objects on the rear tray without them being secured. 200€ fine.
We have talked a lot, about how you must secure the load inside your car, so if you want to take
heavy load in the tray, unless you have separation from the occupants of the car, it is strictly
forbidden. In the event of a collision, or even harsh braking, lose objects become projectiles and can
Remember, only trust information from reputable or official sources, if you have any doubts about
traffic law you can speak to the Guardia Civil officers behind the Facebook page by sending them a
message, visit n332.es, or dgt.es, or consult with a solicitor or other official body.
Local residents and business owners from Orihuela Costa met on Friday to protest over the
neglect of the Costa by the municipal government in favour of Orihuela City and parishes.
The main bones of contention were the disproportionate allocation of budgets, particularly
the funds raised from the sale of land on the coast, the majority of which will not be spent
here. The on-going issues with rubbish and garden waste collection were also high on the list.
As was lack of maintenance and cleaning of parks and green areas, replacing of the bus stop
removed from La Zenia, completion of the Emergency Centre in Orihuela Costa, suppression
of the AP7 toll and more parking areas to replace the ones ‘stolen’ from residents from the
The demonstration was organised by Movimiento Cuidadano La Zenia (La Zenia Citizens
Movement) and was attended by around 100 people and called for a ‘A Fair Budget for
Association President Félix Arenas addressed the crowd and claimed that the Town Hall
collects more than it invests in the coast. He noted that on the group's Facebook page they
have more than 2,000 followers and most send photos of the deplorable state of the area.
The residents are sick of hearing the same promises, some even repeated word for word by
politicians in response to their complaints, he added.
Cuidadano claims the Coast receives an unfair, almost nonexistent share of the budget and
there is no transparency when it comes to replying to letters and complaints from individuals.
After the speech outside, the crowd moved inside the Town Hall and continued the
The protest came hot on the heels of the reaction from The Federation of Orihuela Costa
Associations (FAOC), which has called the 2017 budget produced by Orihuela Town Hall “a
fiasco for the way it fails to respond to residents’ needs”.
They criticise that the coast continues “to suffer an important lack of police officers and street
vendors continue to run rampant, which offers a deplorable image”.
The Federation said they were “really disappointed” that services like rubbish collection and
street cleaning “will keep going from bad to worse because they have been assigned so little
money”, and said the budget for beaches is “totally insufficient”.
They also complained that there was nothing in the budget for the Multi Cultural centre,
“which has been announced so many times”, and nor is there anything to reinforce the staff at
the Centro de Participación Ciudadana (Citizens Participation Centre).
The FAOC concluded by reminding that “all these deficiencies, which have not been resolved
since so long ago that we cannot even remember, were presented to the mayor in September
last year during the Participative Budget campaign. Now it is clear that was all merely just a
A group of women off on a hen weekend was dragged off a Ryanair plane by the National
Police for ‘behaving like animals’, in the words of other passengers.
The six British girls, who appeared to be in their late 20s, were already tipsy when they
boarded the flight at Liverpool airport and spent the flight drinking copious amounts of
vodka, shouting, swearing and using sexually-explicit language, and even ended up fighting
in the aisle.
Passengers described their behaviour as ‘unacceptable’ and ‘vile’, saying the women were ‘a
drunken mess’ and had been ‘acting like creatures’. Ryanair cabin crew and the pilots made
the decision to continue the flight to its destination, Alicante, but called the police just before
landing. Officers were waiting on the runway to frogmarch the women out.
After landing, and before the seatbelt signs had gone off, they were already up and dragging
their hand luggage from the overhead compartments, continuing to yell and swear. Other
travellers booed at them as desperate cabin crew tried as politely as possible to make them sit
When the police came and the women were eventually taken off the aircraft as crew told
them to ‘get out’, passengers cheered and clapped at staff and one little girl was even heard
shouting, “¡Hasta luego!”
But the raucous group, far from showing remorse for putting travellers through what some of
them called ‘the worst flight they had ever been on’, was actually proud of their behaviour.
One of them, identified as Emma Yates, wrote on Facebook: “Only us that can get escorted of
[sic] plane by the Spanish police.”
She also posted the status update, in these exact words: “Yes we was [sic] drunk. Yes we was
[sic] embarrassed but eh a group of girls on holiday having fun…so wot not a***d bout wot
people think or say!! Like u aint never done it!!”
Whilst other travellers on the flight felt it would have served the women right if they had
been emergency-landed and returned home to Liverpool, they did in fact make it to their
Benidorm hotel for their hen weekend and proudly posted selfies lying by the swimming pool
with captions such as, ‘steaming!’ and ‘OMG it's boiling hot’.
It’s summer and almost impossible to park your car in the centre of Torrevieja.
In spite of this the actions taken by a frustrated car driver may seem a little
harsh. He called the police to report that a group of women were sitting out
side their houses to take the air in the very place where he wanted to park his
The habit of the Spanish, particularly the older generation, of taking their
chairs outside in the evening to enjoy the cooler air outside, is well
established. The women were engaged in this practice at the junction
between calle Santa Trinidad and Patricio Pérez. They were taking the
opportunity to chat when, according to Informacion, the difference of opinion
is reported to have taken place
From one view point the two or three women were engaged in the harmless
activity of taking the air at their doors. From the other view point, they were
occupying a potential parking space and perhaps even ‘saving it’ for one of
their relatives. The police were called and the women asked to move their
chairs onto the pavement and off the road. They apparently obliged and a
possible conflict was avoided.
This is not the first time that such an incident has occurred in the area
between el Calvario and Acequión. Tempers flare easily as old traditions meet
young blood and high speed city life. And still there is the rest of August to