The Swedish Transport Administration introduces tougher rules for races

As of January 1, the Swedish Transport Administration is introducing a new approach to the logistics of races that are held on, or cross, a public road. There is no update to the law, but instead of the race organizer himself being responsible for safety, signage and traffic management, the Swedish Transport Administration will take care of these tasks themselves at a cost to the organizer. Negotiations are ongoing with a revised proposal, and a final decision is expected by March 31, 2022.

In short, as an organizer, you must apply to hold the race, get approval from the county administration and the Swedish Transport Administration, and pay a fee to the Swedish Transport Agency for them to come and manage the logistics and traffic management during your race. You cannot put up your own signs on the road without a permit and can no longer direct traffic with any officials, but this can only be done by the police and under the responsibility of the Swedish Transport Administration.

Nothing changes regarding how you apply for permission for your race, but apply as you previously did via the County Board.

Has the process for applying for permission for exercise races changed?

No, you still confirm as usual with the Länsstyrelnsen in good time, about permission to organize an event or public assembly. More information on how to apply for a permit can be found here. If the event involves the occupation of a public road, the county council sends a referral to the Swedish Transport Administration, which in turn gives approval to hold the event according to the Road Act. For the costs related to the management of road logistics, you will be invoiced directly by the Swedish Transport Administration. To clarify, see the statement from the Swedish Customs Administration below:

“We want to be clear that it is not a question of any new rules. In connection with the review of previous working methods, it has emerged that there were deficiencies which needed to be adjusted. What is new is that the Swedish Transport Administration will no longer hire organizers or direct organizers to contact the Swedish Transport Administration’s contractors directly for things that the road manager is responsible for according to the constitution, and that any invoicing will be done by the Swedish Transport Administration, not directly from the Swedish Transport Administration’s contractor.”

– Spokesman from Trafikverket at a meeting with the Swedish Cycling Association. 

Can I put up my own signs aimed at the participants on roads during the race?

No, it is illegal to put up your own signs on roads unless you have a permit. However, you can apply for such a permit under the Traffic Act. If you start a dialogue with the Road Management Authority (Traffic Agency’s regions), you can get permission to put up signs aimed at the participants in the event. Be clear about what you want to do, and make sure to be out in good time.

Does the application to stage races have to be submitted earlier than usual with the new approach in place?

The Swedish Transport Administration recommends applying for permission from the County Administrative Board well in advance, 4 months before the race. This recommendation is unchanged, and the Swedish Transport Agency emphasizes that it is up to the County Administrative Board in the first place, and that the Swedish Transport Agency will not do its part until the County Administrative Board is done with its processing. They urge that an early and good dialogue is the key for a decision to come back to the organizer in good time. So make sure you have your application out no later than 4 months before the race!

How much will I need to pay the Swedish Transport Administration for their services during the race?

No official price or guidelines have been published on what this service will cost. Obviously it depends on the size of your race, how long it lasts and how much of the road you use for the race needs to be monitored. However, the decision on the cost that the organizer will bear has not yet been fully determined – after complaints from, among others, the National Sports Confederation, an investigation is currently underway into how this part of the approach should be handled, because an increased cost for traffic safety would cause many races and associations difficulties in organizing their races. Cykelförbundet, together with other sports federations, is continuing the dialogue and you can follow the development on their website.

If you want answers to more questions on the subject, we recommend that you read the summary from the Swedish Cycling Association‘s information meeting where they received direct information from the Swedish Transport Administration. It is relevant information for other sports that organize road races, not just cycling. The Swedish Athletics Federation has also published information about the new Traffic Safety Rules on its website.