These days it is obvious that European cities have facilities for city cycling, and for those where they are not yet - the infrastructure of cycling mobility is developing. What are the rules that we have to remember while cycling? Here I would like to remind you about the basic rules of cycling, which have to be obligatorily followed in Germany.
This article informs you what you must pay attention to in order to stay safe when you take to the bicycle road in Germany. Living in Bonn, I noticed that nothing can stop people from cycling in Germany- 'raining weather, heat, coldness - there is not bad weather, there are no proper clothes' they say. But are we all acknowledged of the regular rules of transportation and the proper bicycle's condition?
Equipment. Every bicycle must have the following equipment:
- Bell or horn for acoustic warning.
- Two independently working braking devices.
- A non-blinking front headlamp of white or pale yellow color to illuminate the road and a red back seat light that stays lit when standing.
- A white reflector in the front and a red reflector in the back. Every cyclist must have at least two yellow reflectors on every wheel.
- A helmet. There's no law that forces cyclists of any age to wear a helmet. Nevertheless, it's dangerous to cycle without one, and it is strongly recommended by all Transport administrations to wear a safe and well-fitting helmet regardless of what the laws state. They protect against the possibility of serious head or brain injuries in case of an accident. Some municipalities have adopted helmet laws for children.
In traffic. Firstly, there should be a sign indicating a bicycle path.
- Bicycles are legal traffic, that must be on the street with traffic and ride in the direction of traffic, and not against! If there is a bicycle path, it is a must, so do not ride on the street or road with traffic when there is such an option.
- Riding side-by-side is forbidden on streets and roads. It is important to ride single line, even on bicycle roads that are marked on the streets. Exceptions are a group of 16 or more cyclists in just two rows.
- Children up to age 8 must ride on the sidewalk, not in traffic. Moreover, kids up to10 are permitted to ride on the sidewalk.
- Ride solely on a seat attached to the bicycle. Carry just the number of people the bicycle is designed for and properly equipped to carry.
- During all turns, you must give a hand signal. Point left with the left arm, and point right with the right arm to announce turns. The sign for stopping is one arm extended and the forearm pointing down for the arm most likely to be seen by the traffic.
- Pedestrians always have the right, so the priority of way.
- When riding in a pedestrian area, you must push your bicycle if the pedestrian zone restricts bikes. If bicycles are allowed, you must ride at walking speed.
One-way streets are an exception for bikes. Usually, cyclists cannot ride against the flow of traffic on one-way streets. You have to follow signs that may indicate an exception for bicycles in some zones.
- It is forbidden to ride with no hands, therefore - control of the bike at all duration.
- It is forbidden to carry items on the bicycle that may cause an issue in traffic, such as open umbrellas, shovels, or other items that might cause damage or injure the environment during the way.
- The rule “don’t drink alcohol and drive” likewise applies to riding a bicycle. If your blood alcohol exceeds the limitations, you can be fined and possibly lose your driver’s license. It also applies to riding while being drunk or on drugs.
- It is prohibited to use a mobile phone while riding a bike.
- There is no “first come – first drive” crossroad rule in Germany. If you arrive first at a crossroad and you want to turn left, you still must wait for the person across the street.
- In Germany, when crossroads without traffic lights or signs, remember the following rule: “Right side before left side.”
Any violation of traffic regulations will bring you a fine so make sure to respect host nation laws. Definitely, it is just a basic set of rules, but remember to follow them when choosing the bike option. Have a safe ride!