Cyclists must obey traffic laws when venturing out

by Petra Lessoing
Ramstein Public Affairs

With the warm weather, the time for bicycling has come.

But before rushing out to enjoy an afternoon ride on your bike, ADAC recommends to complete a thorough inspection to make sure it still is in a good condition and safe to ride.

To be safe and comfortable, the bicyclist must be put the bike into the right position corresponding to his/her size and height. The height of the frame, the length of the pedals, the shape of the handle bars and saddle must all be taken into consideration.

To avoid becoming a security risk in traffic, good visibility and correct lights are also extremely important.

German traffic regulations require properly installed lights on all bicycles, which include a white front and red rear dynamo light, a white front and a red rear wheel reflector and yellow front and rear pedal reflectors.

Dynamo lights are available in pedal-powered and battery-powered versions. Battery-powered lights ensure that if a bicyclist has to stop at an intersection, the lights will still work and provide visibility. A warning bell and a dual brake system are also required.

Bicyclists must take care of their own safety by wearing a helmet, bright or light-colored clothes, and protection on their bodies to prevent injuries. On military installations, bicyclists must wear a properly fastened and approved helmet, which must meet the American National Standards institute, the Snell Memorial Foundation standards or the Economic Commission Europe standards for bicycle helmets.

To avoid risky situations, it is very important to ride on bicycle paths if available. Cyclists are not allowed to ride on sidewalks. Bicyclists must always ride on the right-hand side of the street.

The following traffic regulations must be obeyed:

– It’s forbidden to ride a bike the wrong way on a one-way street unless a specific sign located under the one-way street sign permits it. The sign has the symbol of a bike and says “frei,” or free, or “Radfahrer frei,” or free for bicyclists.

– When turning, hand signals must be used.

– Carriers are needed to transport packages or groceries.

– Only children 6 years old and younger are allowed to be carried as passengers in a child seat.

– Children up to 8 years old must ride on sidewalks.

To park the bike, cyclists should use a solid lock and chain the bike’s frame and the front and rear wheel if possible to a non-moving object such as a bike rack or light pole.

German Polizei will fine bicyclists for disobeying German traffic regulations or driving bikes with serious defects. Also, bicyclists riding intoxicated risk losing their

driver’s license.