GACO Corner: Passing Bicycles

Welcome to our informational series on driving in Germany. Last week we discussed traffic circles. This week our driving topic is bicycles.

Bicycles are a common sight on German streets, especially in the summer. Interactions between cars and bicycles aren’t always friendly and sometimes even dangerous so we are trying to put out guidance that can make the coexistence between the two easier.

Some basic rules:

  • Please slow down as soon as you see a bicycle on the road ahead. Check to see if there is oncoming traffic before starting the passing maneuver.
  • Keep a distance of 5 feet (1.5 meters) distance when passing a bicycle inside of city limits.
  • Keep a distance of 6.5 feet (2 meters) when passing a bike outside of city limits or while passing a child on a bike or a bike with a bike trailer within city limits.
  • If the required distance cannot be kept, don’t pass the bicycle. This might require some patience, especially when there is traffic on the opposite side of the road as well.

All in all, please be cautious, the bike is the “weaker” road user and no amount of stress or urgency will justify causing an accident.

This ends our series about driving in Germany. For additional questions, please contact the German-American Community Office (GACO) at