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21 March 2013 6 comments

Speeding Tickets In The Post For German Cyclists.

Urban Cycling Stories
Speeding Tickets In The Post For German Cyclists.
In Germany, riding with no hands will cost you €5 if a member of the force wishes to pull you on it. As will allowing a friend to hitch a lift on your rack. And in Germany, as in many other countries, road users on two human powered wheels are theoretically bound to obey any officially signposted speed limits they meet on their path. Ignoring them can thus cost you considerably more than a Sky Diver, not to mention points on your license. Assuming you have one. Of course these signs are designed to apply chiefly to drivers, and anecdotally it seems that police running speed traps are generally content to confine their penalizing to those going fast in vans, cars and motorbikes . Verboten. Bring a wallet stuffed with Fivers if you want to try fancy stuff like this in Deutschland. But as of next month, cyclists in Germany will also become specifically subject to speeding fines if found travelling at more than 30 km/h in a bike lane. Verboten. A night in the cells beckons for this pair if they can't get their hands on €5 sharpish. Most bike lanes in German cities tend to be a fairly seamless extension of the footpath, marked off by a stripe of paint or coloured tarmac, but with nothing built on to block pedestrians from stepping into them. Predictably, collisions between cyclists and pedestrians do occur frequently in bike lanes. In fact, a certain spin on road accident statistics can lead one to interpret that using a bike lane is the least safe way for a cyclist to get around a German city. By attempting to ensure that cyclists keep under 30 km/h in bike lanes, legislators are probably just carrying out an exercise in damage limitation, given that if German cities' bike lanes remain structurally the same, then cyclists will continue to meet pedestrians there at speed. Or be injured while trying to avoid them. And having it all happen at under 30 km/h, for example, presumably means a less undesirable outcome than the same at 40. Your thoughts are herzlich willkommen in the Comments Section.
Just how are Cyclists meant to tell how fast they ARE going?

Are speedometers also likely to become compulsory?

Then again, they could always redesign the Cycle lanes... Oh wait.
Tim Lewis 23 May 2016 at 16:36
up here in Edinburgh we have a rather good cycle network , however pedestrians and those pesky joggers assume that they are also for those traveling on foot , yet when a cyclist is forced to ride on a foot path all you hear is "your not allowed to cycle on the footpath" , in the USA they have 'enforced laws' that stop pedestrians from walking on roads etc , yet in the uk and many other parts of the EU the laws are ignored , pull over at a red light on a bicycle and walk across the junction pushing your bike using the green man crossing and get back on at the other side and ride away with all due care and in total safety and at no risk to anyone and the police pull you over and hand you a ticket ,
riding on a local road with a limit of 50mph when i was traveling at 43mph i got pulled over and told to slow down by police that were following me ,while they were following me, a Subaru impreza passed us at over 70mph , yet they pulled me over.
the whole attitude to cyclists is that they are somehow in the wrong regardless of what they do to stay in the right , bicycles need to be better accepted as the best form of transport for commuting and short journeys for the masses rather than the choice of the odd and rebellious.
until this change occurs at all levels ,all the speed limits ,restrictions and general persecution of cyclists will continue . i feel the truth is that governments want us all in cars as they generate so much revenue in taxes.
matt 23 May 2016 at 16:36
I've lived in Germany on and off for many years and their bike network is first class. Obviously you have to be more careful in the towns and cities where there are lots of pedestrians, but the Germans are a pretty law abiding bunch and I haven't seen much evidence of pedestrians straying into the cycle lanes. In urban areas the bike paths are not designed for pelotons of road racers doing 30kph+; they're so people can get safely to the shops, work and school without white van man trying to run them over or shout obscenities out of the window. Outside the cities there are miles of smooth, traffic free and largely empty bike paths where you can whip along quite happily. Every time I come back to the UK I despair at the appalling state of our roads and cycling facilities compared to the the rest of Europe. No wonder so few children cycle to school in the UK.
Angus 23 May 2016 at 16:36
I've been cycling a lot all around Europe, broken lots o rules and made the experience that you are only punished fpr reckless driving, all the police I met knew when to take action.
The real problem are the pedestrians and cars who endanger the cyclists and force them to brake the few clever laws if they want to reach their destination safely.
Best city to cycle is Bolzano, with clearly seperated bycicle lanes that get you all through the city. Actualy we all can copy the way Italy treats his cyclists (ok, Austria is doing very well, too)
Chris 23 May 2016 at 16:36
A word or two on a nation that is famous (i tend to believe) for its cycling culture: the Dutch. Their are more bicycles than inhabitants, every year more than a milion bikes are sold (and even more stolen...) for a population of only 17 milion. Because we live in one of the most densely populated and compact countries in the world, a lot of travelling is short distance and done by bike. Due to the sheer number of bike movements, the police would not stand a chance of even 'catching' a small number of offenders. A symbolic number of bikers is ticketed at the beginning of autumn when days are getting shorter for not carrying proper lighting (a future Brooks item?) In general the attitude is that when you are in a car, you hate cyclists and when you are on a bike, you hate automobilists. It is very well possible to frequently change between these two roles! The reason why cyclist do not fear drivers too much is that legislation is on their side: in principle, the driver is always wrong, regardless. This position is often abused by the cyclists who generally show no respect at all for cars at all (to the extent of crossing a road without looking) And this way we happily keep on moving in our country!
Arthur 23 May 2016 at 16:36
Can you please remove some stupid typing errors from my previous contribution:
i = I
Their = There
at all for cars at all = for cars at all
Arthur 23 May 2016 at 16:36