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The most important regulations for cyclists

Ground rules
Parti­ci­pa­tion in traffic requires constant care and mutual consi­de­ra­tion. Each road user is to act in such a way that no other road user will be injured, endangered, or hindered or interfered with to any extent beyond the unavoi­da­ble.

Road use
Road users are to stay as far to the right as possible. Cyclists must ride indivi­dually, one behind the other; they may only ride next to one another when this does not hinder traffic.

Children up to and including the age of 8 years must use footpaths for cycling; older children up to and including the age of 10 years may use the same. Pedestrians are to be given special consi­de­ra­tion. Children must dismount their bicycles when crossing a road.

Compulsory use of bike paths
The familiar blue signs with white "bicycle" symbols - also combined with "pede­strians" (sign type 237 = bike path only, 240 = shared bike and pedestrian path or 241 = separated bike and pedestrian path) indicate an obligation to use these paths. Cyclists must use these paths.

Within areas limited to 30 kmh, bicycle path use may not be marked as compulsory.

"Other" bicycle path options can be used. These bike paths are specially-built and are visually recogni­z­able to other road users (for instance, tarmac bicycle paths beside paved pedestrian paths, different colour paved bicycle and pedestrian paths or a separation with an uninter­rup­ted centre line). Such bike paths are not marked by special signs.


More on this topic


Safe biking

Bike helmets

Bike parking facilities


Examples of further mobility options for cyclists

Foot paths open to cyclists

Foot paths which, in addition to sign type 239 (pede­strians), are also marked with the sign "Radfahrer frei" (open to cyclists), may be used by cyclists. However, cyclists must give special consi­de­ra­tion to pedestrians and may only ride at walking speed. These paths are an option for cyclists, but the use of these paths by cyclists is not obligatory.

Bicycle lane

The blue traffic sign with the white bicycle symbol (sign type 237) also indicates bicycle lanes. This is a marked part of the road which is intended for use by cyclists. For clarity's sake, this symbol is also often painted directly onto the bicycle lane, which can additio­nally be marked in red.

Protection strip

The protection strip is a part of the road separated from the main road by a lane separator (an inter­rup­ted line used to mark the road lanes) reserved for cyclists. In contrast to bicycle lanes, protection strips are not marked by special signs and may also be used by broader vehicles. Protective strips are always on the right-side edge of the road and the general obligation to drive as far to the right as possible establis­hes the obligation of use in this section of the road's length.

Bike stop lane

There can be a second stop line with a stopping area for bicycles ahead of automobile traffic at traffic lights. This off-set stopping area gives cyclists a place to safely stop their bikes ahead of the cars while the traffic lights are red. This enables good visual contact and thus avoids conflicts between cyclists turning left and cars going straight ahead as much as possible.

One-way street, open to cyclists in both directions

Within areas in which speed is limited to 30 kmh, one-way streets may, under certain conditions, be permitted for use by cyclists travelling in both directions. Such streets are marked with the signs "Radfahrer in beiden Richtun­gen" (open to cyclists in both direc­ti­ons) or "Radfahrer frei" (open to cyclists) in addition to the "Einbahn­stra­ße" (one-way street) sign (at the beginning of the street) and the "Verbot der Einfahrt" (no entry) sign (at the end of the street). At uncon­trol­led junctions or inter­sec­ti­ons, right-before-left determines right-of-way.

Bike street

The beginning and the end of bicycle streets are marked with special traffic signs 244/244a.

  • Bicycle streets are covered by the same regula­ti­ons as roads, with the following variances:
  • Drivers of other vehicles are only permitted to use bicycle streets if an additional sign authorises them to do so.
  • All vehicles may travel at a maximum speed of 30 kmh.
  • Cyclists may be neither endangered nor hindered. If necessary, motor vehicle drivers must further reduce their speed.
  • Cyclists are also allowed to ride next to one another.

Rules for pedestrian crossings

At pedestrian crossings ("zebra crossings") motor vehicle drivers are required to allow pedestrians who clearly wish to use the pedestrian crossing to cross the road. This regulation does not apply for cyclists wishing to cross the road. Cyclists are permitted to use pedestrian crossings; however, they do not have right of way as described above. Cyclists who are pushing their bikes are to be regarded as pedestrians in this situation.

The cyclists in this picture do not have right of way!