Guide to cycling traffic law in European countries

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st599_uk
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Re: Guide to cycling traffic law in European countries

Post by st599_uk »

simonhill wrote: 28 Feb 2022, 8:14am All I know is which side of the road to ride, then follow what the locals do.
I even messed that up coming back from a picnic on the Rhine. Got let off as there were no cars on the road.

One thing Germany and the Netherlands are hot on though is lights and reflectors. So make sure you have some. You can buy big bags of little spoke reflectors in bike shops that will light you up like a xmas tree for 5 euros. That's normally enough to make them happy.
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mjr
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Re: Guide to cycling traffic law in European countries

Post by mjr »

Bmblbzzz wrote: 1 Mar 2022, 9:32am Isn't the meaning of a white sign on blue circle interpreted as "must" pretty much Europe-wide? UK is the only exception I'm aware of, but there are probably a few others (I'd guess IE, and let's follow that up with MT and CY). As distinct from the UK interpretation of "Only".
I believe it's pretty much all right-hand drive signatories of the Vienna Conventions.

The UK interpretation of blue circles is inconsistent, with arrows and numbers being "must" but vehicle pictures not. And use is inconsistent, too: why is "one way street" on a rectangle? That's not optional so should be a circle. Maybe that's why so many road users in Norfolk treat quieter one-ways as optional! ;)
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Re: Guide to cycling traffic law in European countries

Post by Bmblbzzz »

I think the idea is that there is a difference between informing you of a one-way street, and telling you that you must go in a certain direction (which in this case would be along the one-way street).

For instance, this is the entrance to a one-way street. There are rectangular informational signs, because you need to know it's one way. But you don't have to go down it if you don't want to!
https://goo.gl/maps/jMBzM9XTWpj9P5wg8

Further along the same street, there is a side road. Here you can see the circular "left-turn only" or "you must turn left" sign giving an order to traffic emerging from that side street. There is no other choice! Traffic already on Aberdeen Road can, of course, carry straight on or turn right.
https://goo.gl/maps/KGZyNsT3wX8zX9FDA

Oddly, the rectangular informational one-way signs are not repeated immediately that side turning. Maybe that's a mistake, or maybe it's because all traffic has either just been told "turn right" from the side road or has already been informed of the one-way operation at the beginning of the street.

Similarly, this sign:
Image
is interpreted slightly differently at junctions in different countries.
Psamathe
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Re: Guide to cycling traffic law in European countries

Post by Psamathe »

Vorpal wrote: 1 Mar 2022, 9:34am
tatanab wrote: 28 Feb 2022, 9:03pm
Psamathe wrote: 28 Feb 2022, 8:46pm My understanding is in NL if there is a cycle path then you are not permitted to use the road - Is my understanding wrong?
I believe that of Belgium too.
It's a bit more complex than that (mjr posted while I was writing)

For Belgium: (available in French & Flemish) https://www.belgium.be/nl/mobiliteit/fi ... s/plichten But actually, the legal obligation only applies if you can see a round blue sign, with a bike emblem from your direction of travel. In addition, there are exceptions if it is blocked or in a dangerous condition. The police explain it here (with some further links) https://www.politie.be/5388/vragen/verk ... r-fietsers Regarding cycle lanes (on the road), Drivers believe that you are obliged to use them & will beep at you, if you don't, but the only legal obligation is to keep to the right. It is acknowledged that cycle lanes are not always safe, and explicitly acknowledged that they should be avoided on roundabouts where there is a significant risk of conflict. Unfortunately, the highway code for cyclists appears to be only French & Flemish pdf.

For the Netherlands: it is similar but optional paths are usually labelled with a rectangular sign that says 'fietspad'. there is an English version of the Netherlands highway code as of 2013 here (pdf) https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/binar ... 013_uk.pdf
Some interesting bits in the NL (English version) rules
e.g. on my "bent" (Tadpole which is 79cm wide) I am allowed to use the main carriageway (not toured on it yet) so I assume the blue circle with white bike signs don't apply - I can use either the cycleway or the main carriageway (I'd likely be chosing the cycleway anyway)
Riders of bicycles having more than two wheels with a total width, including the load, in excess of 0.75 metres and of bicycles pulling trailers with a total width , including the load, in excess of 0.75 metres, may use the public carriageway.
Also some "challenging" rules for my tadpole format bent (have to think about this one - except it says "must carry" not must be switched on and only required at night or in limited visibility)
A cycle with more than two wheels having two front wheels must carry two white or two yellow lights at the front, symmetrically attached to the left and right of the centre.
Interesting that you are not allowed extra lights
No more lights may be carried on a cycle, by its rider or by a passenger seated behind the rider than the lights indicated in parts 2 through 5.
Very useful and intersting, thanks Vorpal.

Ian
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Re: Guide to cycling traffic law in European countries

Post by Vorpal »

Psamathe wrote: 1 Mar 2022, 1:12pm
Interesting that you are not allowed extra lights
No more lights may be carried on a cycle, by its rider or by a passenger seated behind the rider than the lights indicated in parts 2 through 5.
I think the law has changed to allow headlamps / helmet mounted lights. I will see if I can find confirmation.

The Netherlands is also one of the few countries that (to my knowledge) has not changed their bicycle lighting laws to allow flashing lights. Their reasoning is, from what I understand, that although some research indicates that flashing lights are more noticeable, they may make it harder to judge speed. TBH, I doubt they would do anything to a visitor except ask them to turn it off & inform them of the law.
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birkhead
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Flashers in France etc, front & rear

Post by birkhead »

I have become addicted to flashing as a means of self defence 😎.
I plan to travel in France, and probably NL Germany, Switzerland, depending on route chosen in the absence of a proper rail network.
What are
a. the rules (law) and
b. the accepted practice
about using front/rear flashing lights on cycles in W Europe?
TIA for advice
hamster
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Re: Flashers in France etc, front & rear

Post by hamster »

As you are UK based, you can use anything that is legal in the UK.
(As an example, it's not legal for cars in many EU countries to have non-removable towbars, but is in the UK).
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Re: Flashers in France etc, front & rear

Post by Vorpal »

birkhead wrote: 30 May 2022, 2:36pm I have become addicted to flashing as a means of self defence 😎.
I plan to travel in France, and probably NL Germany, Switzerland, depending on route chosen in the absence of a proper rail network.
What are
a. the rules (law) and
b. the accepted practice
about using front/rear flashing lights on cycles in W Europe?
TIA for advice
France: Lights are mandatory during the night or bad weather with white or yellow light on front and a red light at the rear. Flashing front or rear light is allowed as a second or added light, but not as the main light. A light must be non-flashing to meet the mandatory lighting requirements.

NL is discussed at length above (merged thread)

German rules are in a link on the first page of this thread. Swiss rules are similar to German, but simpler.

Note that your bicycle only has to comply with the rules in the country of origin. So, while you do not have to have dyno lights (as required in Germany) because battery lights are sufficient under British regulations, you are likely to be stopped by police in any of the countries you have listed if you do not use any steady lights.
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Re: Guide to cycling traffic law in European countries

Post by Vorpal »

Vorpal wrote: 1 Mar 2022, 1:41pm I think the law has changed to allow headlamps / helmet mounted lights. I will see if I can find confirmation.

The Netherlands is also one of the few countries that (to my knowledge) has not changed their bicycle lighting laws to allow flashing lights. Their reasoning is, from what I understand, that although some research indicates that flashing lights are more noticeable, they may make it harder to judge speed. TBH, I doubt they would do anything to a visitor except ask them to turn it off & inform them of the law.
I had forgotten about this... I did a little looking around, and as far as I can tell, extra lights are still not allowed, including headlamps, or helmet lights.
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simonhill
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Re: Guide to cycling traffic law in European countries

Post by simonhill »

'Scuse my ignorance, but the mentions above about being stopped by police for incorrect lights - is this only when dark or are they just required.
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Re: Guide to cycling traffic law in European countries

Post by Bmblbzzz »

German law changed to allow battery lights on all bikes, not just 'racing bikes' (anything under 11kg) something like ten years ago. And in practice they were widely used before that.
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