Saturday, May 05, 2012

German traffic laws applying to cyclists

Summing up German laws and regulations for cyclists. 
Obeying these regulations is important for at least two reasons:
1) You can receive an on-the-spot-fine of up to €50 (about £40 or $65) for some of these offences:

You can be fined 5 Euros for cycling on the pavement (sidewalk).
You can be fined 15 Euros for cycling in the wrong direction on a cycleway.
You can be fined 25 Euros for using a mobile phone when underway on a bike.
You can be fined 45 Euros if you jump a red traffic light.
You can be fined 10 Euros for cycling in a pedestrian zone.

2) If you don't follow the law, you can be involved in an accident and this can have severe personal and financial effects.

The main regulations:

a) Cyclists must use a cycleway when present, as long as it is in a fit state to be used. There is another problem, caused by motorists' belief, that those cycleways which are designated by a painted stripe on the side of the road are designed to be emergency parking areas for motor cars. It is no use getting annoyed because many motorists or as they see themselves, the Lords of Creation, often see fit to park on pavements (sidewalks) and annoy pedestrians as well.
b) Cyclists should ride single file, unless there is so little traffic that by riding adjacent to one another they do not impede traffic.
c) E-Bikes or Pedelecs whose maximum speed is under 25 kph are treated as normal bicycles, i.e. the bicycle regulations apply to them.
d) Mopeds and more powerful e-bikes can only use cycleways outside of town limits. (These are marked by rectangular yellow signs giving the name of the community.)
e) Moped and more powerful e-bike riders must wear a helmet and have third party insurance cover.
f) If there is no cycleway, cyclists should cycle on the right.
g) Children aged eight or less must cycle on the pavement (sidewalk) as long as there is one present. Between eight and ten children may cycle on the pavement (sidewalk).
h) Cyclists should push their bikes in pedestrian zones.
i) There is no requirement to wear a helmet, although it is strongly encouraged.
j) Using a mobile phone when underway on a bike is verboten, i.e. a no no, but like motorists some cyclists need to be in touch with the rest of the world constantly.

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