Rules of the road for cyclists

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Has anyone done a thorough review of the laws for bicyclists in Berlin?

 

I have never read them, but i assume

 

1. all traffic laws should be obeyed

2. the sidewalk should be avoided

 

Similar to the US, I have had the opportunity to interact with motorists who believe that bikes have no place on the road.

 

Do bikes have a right to ride on the road in Germany? What are the guidelines or laws governing bicyclists on public streets?

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Since you are non-EU you might not be aware of the "right before left" rule.

 

Bikes can drive on roads except in highways. While many riders will advise you to drive in the middle of the lane, in my opinion it is safer to drive on the right side of the lane (except when there are cars parked, you have to give some escape space for yourself).

 

If there is a bicycle lane then use it.

 

You are supposed to respect all the rules, including speed limits, one way streets, signs and traffic lights, etc.

 

And use common sense, just because you have the right does not mean you would drive yourself into a dangerous situation (but you would not believe how some people on bikes behave). Car drivers in Germany are in general good people and respect the bikes, but people make mistakes.

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Berlin has a lot of bike paths on pavements, some with painted markings, some just distinguished by a different surface.

If there is a blue circular sign with a white bike on it, then cyclists must use that path and are forbidden to ride on the adjacent road.

If there is not a sign, then using the bike path is not compulsory. In my experience not all motorists know this so if you ride on the road adjacent to a path some drivers will indicate that you should use the path, so I often find it safer to use the non-compulsory ones.

 

On the road you may not ride up the inside of a stopped tram. I think that this is true whenever a tram has stopped, not just at tram stops.

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All traffic laws should be obeyed. You should avoid the side walk if you are 10 or older. The bike paths are directional so if there are bike paths on both sides of the road, you should use the one on the right side. This was not clear to me where I live because I see people using them even handedly but after some old lady yelled at me that I was going the wrong way, I looked it up and you can actually be fined if you are going the wrong way. You can also ride on the street, of course also on the right side of it. You are also supposed to have lights on your bike. They prefer if you have lights with a dynamo but if you have battery lights, you should have them with you in case you get stopped. Even if you are riding in the daytime, you can get fined if you don't have lights on your bike.

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If there's a bike path on each side of the road, you need to ride on the path in the same direction as the road traffic next to the bike path (even when it's a separate path and not just a lane painted on the road). When there's a bike path on only one side of the road, normally it's for bike traffic in both directions. Usually in this case there are signs, or symbols painted on the path.

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What is the "right before left" rule that Krieg mentioned? (I am non-EU, too.)

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Unless there are some signs showing you something else, the person coming from your right has the right of way.

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If there's a one way street, look out for a sign which allows you to go also in the "wrong way". It is often allowed for bikes. (of course go carefully then)

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What about if the "compulsory" cycle path is dangerously uneven? Any leeway there? Or if you're as fast as the traffic/faster than all the other cyclists on the path?

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If the "compulsory" bike path is "unzumutbar" (unreasonable) - meaning in poor condition or obstructed by e.g., parked cars - you don't have to use it.

 

Your relative speed is irrelevant.

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You can be fined (either 20 or 25 EUR) for not using a bike path if there is one. Unless, as El Jeffo said, it is unreasonable. The fine for cycling in the sidewalk is the same. (I've seen the police out catching people in areas where this happens a lot.

 

You are also supposed to have fixed lights, if in doubt, talk to a cycle store. The summer is almost here (we hope) and this is the time the cops like to do set up 'stop areas' where they pull over all the cyclist to make sure they have the right lights and reflectors etc. If you bike a lot, I'm sure your bike is fine.

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You are also supposed to have fixed lights, if in doubt, talk to a cycle store. The summer is almost here (we hope) and this is the time the cops like to do set up 'stop areas' where they pull over all the cyclist to make sure they have the right lights and reflectors etc. If you bike a lot, I'm sure your bike is fine.

 

There is an important exception to requiring mechanically-powered fixed lights (if this is what you mean by fixed lights) for racing bikes under 11kg - these are allowed to have light battery-powered lamps.

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I very much doubt that an adult would be allowed to ride on the sidewalk with a kid. When I have seen parents riding with kids, they are always supervising them riding on the bike path. It would also be possible for the parent to ride on the bike path and the kid to ride on the sidewalk alongside them. Of course this is a non-issue if you are on an empty sidewalk and nobody is around to fine you for it.

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No as an adult you are only allowed to ride on the sidewalk where it is permitted for bikes. Your child up to the age of 8 is required to ride on the sidewalk and get off and push his bike across intersections. B/W the ages of 8-10 he is allowed to decide wether to use the sidewalk or not, but after the age of ten, he is also required to use the bike paths.

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You can be fined (either 20 or 25 EUR) for not using a bike path if there is one.

 

Not anymore since a few months. You can use the street now (read for example https://www.allianz.de/newsletter/maerz-2010/content/neue-regeln-auf-strassen.html ). Unless you're more or less forced to use the bike path because of a very dangerous traffic situation or if the sidewalk + bike path is very large. Of course when there's a bike lane on the road you have to use it (but take care of minimum distance of ~ 1m to parking cars).

 

@algae: Using the sidewalk is never allowed. Unless you get off your bike... (well, reality is different I know...)

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