Bicycle traffic

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bicycle traffic in the Danish city of Copenhagen , next to Brussels , Paris and Moscow one of the (partly self-proclaimed) " European bicycle capitals "
A "cargo bike" near Kathmandu ( Nepal , April 2015)
An older type of cargo bike in Amsterdam (March 2010)

Bicycle traffic , including bicycle traffic , means overcoming space by riding a bicycle using the muscle-powered vehicle bicycle with the aim of transporting people and goods. Bicycle traffic is an individual , healthy , sustainable , fine-dust , noise and emissions- avoiding form of transport and logistics that uses little space ; it is an essential part of cycling culture and - besides walking and swimming - one of the simplest and most direct forms of human mobility .


Cycling can be divided into everyday cycling , tourist cycling and road cycling . These types of traffic have different conditions resulting from different requirements and traffic intentions. All year round, cycling is mostly everyday traffic. Especially in the warmer times of the year there is also a large proportion of tourists. Road cycling has only a small share of total cycling.

Road construction requirements

For cycling, a structural and regulatory infrastructure is required that enables the smooth handling of cycling between starting point and destination. Starting points and destinations for everyday cycling correspond to those of other types of transport. For this reason, the existing road network usually already provides a means of transport for cycling. Because it is possible to move around on its own, everyday cycling is dependent on routes that are as short as possible, free of detours, with the lowest possible differences in height and smooth, easy-to-drive road surfaces. The existing road network is usually adequately equipped for this. For tourist cycling, routes that are away from busy roads are preferred. In order to more easily reach tourist destinations on the route, a direct route between two places is often dispensed with. Likewise, a poorer surface condition is more likely to be tolerated on tourist cycle paths .

Driving requirements

Biking road users must be able, the transport bike in the road to keep technically sure to master and in a restricted perfect working order, especially since no technical inspection is mandatory for bicycles. The young cyclist learns the necessary techniques, traffic signs and traffic rules mostly through appropriate offers from the German traffic police , the traffic police and the schools , which provide suitable facilities such as traffic training areas and specially trained teachers. The older road users are largely dependent on their own responsibility.

To determine the technical ability to drive and safe handling of transport bike, the traffic didactics alongside proven training programs and appropriate learning controls in the form of entertaining cycling tests that enable anyone to verify its secure mobility in public transport areas and improve.


Bicycle alley with tram line in Amsterdam

Bicycle traffic has the potential to replace around 50 percent of the journeys made by urban motorized individual traffic, most of which are short distances of less than 10 kilometers. This could increase the share of cycling in total traffic ( modal split ) considerably.

  • Bicycle traffic is fast: it can usually make use of its speed advantages, viewed as travel time from door to door, on distances of up to five kilometers over all other types of transport. With the creation of good framework conditions, such as this u. a. by creating cycle superhighways in the Netherlands and Denmark , this is also possible over longer distances.
  • Bicycle traffic is (very) cheap: One kilometer of cycling can easily avoid costs of around 10 ct / km compared to using a motor-driven automobile simply by saving fuel . Given the corresponding mileage, the fixed costs per kilometer resulting from acquisition and maintenance are well below those of automobiles.
  • Cyclists move more healthily: cycling is done with muscle power in the open air. Getting around by bike therefore reduces the risk of illness and extends life. The great advantage of the bicycle is that movement with it is almost incidental.
  • Bicycle traffic enables social mobility: Because cyclists can be seen easily and cycling speeds are usually low, more intensive communication between road users is possible than in car traffic. Through the visibility of people, cities with bicycle traffic appear lively and livable.
  • Bicycle traffic strengthens local trade and invigorates inner cities: cyclists usually have less transport capacity than motorists, and cyclists are also more sensitive to detours. That is why everyday cyclists tend to do their shopping on their everyday routes in shops that are designed for smaller quantities, i.e. preferably in the district and village centers as well as in the city centers. Car-friendly shopping centers on the outskirts are not very attractive for cyclists. Since cyclists have significantly lower mobility costs, they have more money available for consumption.
  • Bicycle traffic relieves the burden on roads: Due to the reduced space requirements of bicycle traffic, every car driver who switches to bicycle relieves the burden on both moving and stationary traffic. Therefore, if it is used well by cyclists, it is also advantageous to rededicate the vehicle to cycling infrastructure for car traffic.
  • Bicycle infrastructure is inexpensive: bicycles are much lighter and take up less space than motor vehicles. Therefore, bicycle traffic systems for comparable traffic volumes are smaller, cheaper and more permanent than the traffic infrastructure of motorized individual traffic.
  • Bicycle traffic reduces urban sprawl : cycling is particularly attractive in a radius of up to 10 km. Residents who have recognized the advantages of the bicycle will find remote residential locations with long traffic routes less attractive than people who mainly use the car or local public transport .



Clearance of a one-way street with additional sign 1022-10, "Cyclists free", even during a construction phase
Turn right at the car-free Mainkai in Frankfurt (2019) to the right and left, straight ahead permeable to bicycle traffic with clearance

Cycle traffic is to be understood as a complex system that has to be integrated into many human life processes. In the planning decisions in favor of cycling, the other modes of transport pedestrian , motor vehicle and local rail transport must also be included. This requires integrated planning . Appropriate public relations work and the adaptation of the regulatory framework through laws and ordinances, as well as adequate financial and personnel resources (cycling planning is detail-oriented and requires significantly more planning effort than "normal" road construction ) are therefore part of the promotion of cycling, which is desired from many sides . In classic bicycle traffic planning, the structural design of the route, i.e. the creation of cycle lanes or structurally separate cycle paths, is the focus of interest. In the meantime, end-to-end planning for entire routes, for example with sections in quiet access roads , bicycle roads , green spaces, has become a more effective planning principle; Related bicycle networks are also marked with signposts. The discussion or planning of individual cycle superhighways has been added as a further approach . There are often delays in implementing these planning principles in Germany.

There are also a number of other points:

  • Reduction of unnecessary or obstructive restrictions of all kinds (for cycling), e.g. B. Marking for cyclists permeable dead ends , opening of one-way streets for cyclists also in the opposite direction, removal of cyclists when turning bids, reduction of waiting times at traffic lights
  • Ensuring accessibility through ramps instead of stairs, asphalt instead of large stone pavement or even cobblestone, curbs, adequately dimensioned obstacle-free paths
  • Maintenance, cleaning and clearing of snow from the paths
  • Secure bicycle parking for both theft and weather protection at sources and destinations of bicycle traffic
  • additional availability of bicycles through networks of self-service stations for bicycle rental , etc. in the entire cycle traffic system.

With all forms of transport, it can be seen that improving the respective infrastructure can increase the corresponding proportion of transport. In contrast to bicycle traffic, accessibility and all-round service for car traffic have largely become a matter of course in developed countries since the middle of the 20th century. Examples from the system of motor vehicle traffic are car-friendly traffic routing and traffic areas, expressways , motorways , parking garages , specifications on the number and design of parking spaces, for example at shopping centers, official signs for service offers such as fuel stations and rest stops or motels . For cycling, such offers are still largely lacking or are based on local or private initiatives.

Separation of the modes of transport

While a separation of the various forms of transport was favored for a long time, there has been criticism of the concepts based on separation according to types of transport since the beginning of the 1990s, since cycle paths and cycle lanes can greatly increase the risk of accidents compared to driving on the road, partly because they are inadequate Design (three to twelve times as much depending on the variant of the cycle path). For this reason, the general obligation to use bicycle traffic facilities has been abolished in Germany since October 1st, 1998. This means that cycling on the road is the norm, while the obligation to use cycling facilities may only be ordered in exceptional cases and after an individual examination.

National cycling plan in Germany

Bicycle traffic planning is predominantly a municipal task, there are various funding opportunities for financing, but these are marginal in contrast to the financing options (and sums) for local and long-distance public transport as well as motor vehicle traffic.

Politically, the promotion of cycling has been recognized as a task across all parties at the national level. In Germany, this is reflected in the adoption of the National Cycling Plan (NRVP) for the years 2002 to 2012, which was adopted by the federal government in 2002 following a resolution by the German Bundestag . As a further development, the 'National Cycling Plan 2020' was presented at the beginning of 2012 and approved by the Federal Cabinet on September 6, 2012.

The NRVP is intended to specifically develop the opportunities offered by bicycle traffic within the framework of an integrated transport policy in a transport system geared towards sustainability. In order to better coordinate the various bicycle traffic actors from federal, state and local administrations as well as interested working groups, an information and work platform on the Internet, the bicycle portal , was set up in 2004 by the “Radverkehr” work group of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Building and urban development (BMVBS).

Since August 16, 2006, the task of “cycling” in the BMVBS has been carried out at department level in the Department of Urban Development and Housing (Department SW 24 “Cycling”).

The following bodies are currently (as of 2006) active:

  • Cycle Tourism Advisory Board,
  • Federal-State working group for bicycle traffic,
  • Interministerial working group,
  • Round table project for cycling,
  • Sub-working group regulatory framework,
  • Sub-working group Financing and Coordination,
  • Sub-working group tourism and the
  • Communication sub-group.

At the Research Association for Roads and Transport (FGSV), the “Cycle Traffic ” working group of the “Pedestrian and Cycle Traffic Systems” working committee, which created the recommendations for cycle traffic systems (ERA), which were published in 2010 revised. The next revision of the ERA is also being prepared there.

The bicycle traffic specialist committee of ADFC and SRL sees itself as a professional lobby group .

Research projects related to cycling, especially in the research fields “behavior and safety in traffic” and “road traffic technology” are regularly published by the German Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) and the Swiss Advisory Center for Accident Prevention (bfu). The bfu deals scientifically with the implementation of the goal pursued by Vision Zero of no longer admitting dead or seriously injured persons in road traffic.


From 2021 to seven German ( specialist ) colleges or universities , a study program "Cycling" offered:

Connection with public transport

Bicycle traffic planning also includes the pre- and post-transport of the vehicle (bicycle) to and from public transport, i.e. the interfaces with rail-bound traffic and bus traffic, as well as taking the bicycle on public transport itself, e.g. B. by creating low-floor bicycle compartments in rail vehicles and buses. The term bike-and-ride , which comes from English, is usually used for this.

Statutory Regulations

The legal provisions for cycling are described here. The legal rules for the bicycle itself, e.g. equipping it with lights, horns, etc. can be found in the article bicycle .


For cycling, the general driving rules of the road traffic regulations apply as the overriding principle . In addition, there are additional special provisions for cycling. The most important:

  • Age restriction: The minimum age to drive a bicycle in public traffic is 12 years. Children under this age are only allowed to ride bicycles if they are accompanied by people who have reached the age of 16 or with official approval. With a wheeled card , which can be obtained under certain conditions, cycling from 10 years is possible.
  • Cycling facilities:
    • Obligation to use: If there is a cycling facility (cycle path, sidewalk and cycle path, cycle lane, multi-purpose lane), it must also be used. With bicycles with trailers up to 80 cm wide or trailers for passenger transport, with multi-lane bicycles up to 80 cm wide, as well as during training trips with racing bicycles (as defined in the Bicycle Ordinance ), there is freedom of choice whether the bicycle system or the general road is used. Bicycles with trailers that are wider than 80 cm and multi-lane bicycles that are wider than 80 cm are not allowed to use cycling facilities and the general roadway is to be used. When leaving a cycling facility, priority must be given to flowing traffic.
    • Driving rules on cycling facilities: Basically, cycling facilities may be used in both directions, unless otherwise indicated by the floor markings (directional arrows). The exception to this is the cycle lane (on the road), because this may only be used in the same direction as the lane adjacent to it to the left. In one-way lanes with cycle lanes against the one-way, this is to be used in the direction of travel of the one-way, in accordance with the right-hand driving law. In one-way direction, the general lane or, if available, a cycle lane or cycle path adjacent to the right must be used.
    • Cyclist crossings: Cyclists may only approach cyclist crossings where traffic is not regulated by arrows or light signals at a speed of no more than 10 km / h. In these cases, the cyclist crossing must not be driven on immediately in front of an approaching vehicle or in a surprising way for its driver.
  • Driving against a one-way street: Cycling against a one-way street is - as is the traffic with motor vehicles or other non-motorized vehicles - prohibited. Cyclists can be exempted from the one-way rule by ordinance, indicated by additional signs on the one-way traffic signs ( one-way street sign at the beginning and no entry prohibited sign at the end). The installation of cycle lanes against the one-way street is not mandatory.
  • Sidewalks, sidewalks and pedestrian zones: Longitudinal cycling on sidewalks and sidewalks is prohibited. Cycling is only allowed in pedestrian zones if cycling is excluded from the general driving ban by means of an additional sign.
  • Residential streets may only be driven on with all vehicles at walking speed . Bicycles can be driven through (which is prohibited for general traffic) and side-by-side. In residential streets that are also one-way streets, cycling against the prescribed direction of travel is permitted without a prescribed exception.
  • Driving side by side on roads with public traffic is only permitted on cycle paths and in residential streets, as well as during training rides with racing bicycles . When driving next to each other, only the rightmost lane may be used. In practice - and based on the usual lane width - this means that a maximum of two training cyclists are allowed to ride side by side.
  • Winding forward: Drivers of single-track vehicles (single-track bicycles, motorcycles, mopeds and the like) are allowed to drive up to crossings, narrow streets, railroad crossings or the like next to or between the stopped vehicles in order to position themselves further ahead. However, this is only permitted if there is sufficient space and if handlebars who have indicated their intention to turn are not hindered when turning. Since the so-called meandering forward is only allowed with single-lane vehicles, the prohibition of driving forward also applies to multi-lane bicycles. Although single-lane people are allowed to meander forward , the cyclist should drive cautiously and at a reasonable pace in order to be able to react quickly to sudden situations such as opening a car door. It should be noted that if the stopped vehicles start moving, the vehicle in front becomes impermissible overtaking.
  • Pushing bicycles: "Anyone who pushes a bicycle is not considered a cyclist" (Section 65 (1), second half-sentence StVO) since the 20th amendment to the Road Traffic Act. This was intended to ensure that bicycles do not have to be pushed on the road, "since there should not be a distinction between a pedestrian as such and a pedestrian who also pushes a bicycle next to him". According to the prevailing legal opinion and ruling practice, it is not of the wording of the law, but of the legal interpretation who pushes a bicycle is a pedestrian. It is therefore forbidden to push bicycles on cycling facilities and the general road, but it is permitted on sidewalks, sidewalks and in pedestrian zones. Explicitly according to the StVO, pushing bicycles in residential streets and in streets with a general driving ban (prohibition sign driving ban (in both directions)) is permitted.
  • Alcohol at the wheel: According to the general rule of § 5 Abs. 1 StVO, the alcohol limit when driving a bicycle is 0.8 per thousand alcohol content in the blood or 0.4 mg / l in the breath. (Compare: When driving a motor vehicle, 0.5 per mille apply according to the stricter rules of the KFG .) At 0.5 per mille or more, or if it is suspected that driving is due to alcohol or narcotic drugs, drivers of vehicles (including bicycles) can disrupt organs the road inspector are prevented from starting or driving a vehicle (Section 5b (1) of the StVO). The driver's license can only be withdrawn from cyclists in serious cases, if there is a suspicion of poor traffic reliability and an administrative procedure confirming the poor traffic reliability.

Other countries

The legal situation in other countries can differ considerably from that in German-speaking countries. In Spain and Portugal , for example, the legal rule does not apply to cyclists: Here, motorized traffic always has priority over cyclists.

Parking systems / anti-theft protection

In surveys, bicycle theft is cited as one of the main obstacles to a further increase in the share of bicycle traffic . A lack of or poor bicycle parking facilities encourage bicycle theft, while good facilities offer a high level of protection against theft. The bicycle mounts used play a decisive role. Since May 2016, the DIN standard 79008 "Stationary bicycle parking systems" has been in force, which in Part 1 describes requirements for theft protection properties, security and usability of bicycle parking systems; Part 2 defines the test procedures for this. The DIN 79008 is largely derived from the technical guideline TR 6102-0911 "Recommended bicycle parking systems" of the ADFC . A registration of the bicycles, guarded stations or lockable boxes are further possibilities for improvement.

Pictures of bike stations and parking facilities

Bicycle traffic in ...

Other countries


  • Stefan Brüdermann : The early days of bicycle traffic in northwest Germany and the discipline of traffic . In: Technikgeschichte , Vol. 64 (1997), H. 4, pp. 253-267
  • Federal Highway Research Institute (Hrsg.): Traffic-safe installation and design of cycle paths. Reports of the Federal Highway Research Institute, issue V 9. Bremerhaven: Verlag für Neue Wissenschaften, 1994. ISBN 3-89429-384-5
  • Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing (Ed.): Cycling in practice. Experiences and examples from home and abroad. Bremerhaven: Verlag für Neue Wissenschaften, 2004. ISBN 3-86509-205-5
  • Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology Austria (Ed.): Cycling in figures - data, facts and moods . Vienna, 2013
  • Deutsche Verkehrswacht (Ed.): The bicycle training as an integrated part of the traffic education in the school . Bonn 1989
  • Research Society for Roads and Transport: Recommendations for Bicycle Traffic Systems (ERA) . Edition 2010. Cologne, 2010
    • Notes on cycling outside urban areas (H RaS 02) Edition 2002
  • Dieter Hohenadel: Cycling lessons in elementary school and youth traffic school . Braunschweig 1997
  • Mobycon (Ed.): Temporary installation and expansion of bicycle traffic facilities - more space for bicycles in the city in 10 days . 2020
  • Thomas Möller (Ed.): Ride your bike! Paths to the bicycle city. Bike traffic inspiration book . Hanseatic City of Rostock, Rostock 2007.
  • Siegbert A. Warwitz: Traffic education from the child. Perceiving-Playing-Thinking-Acting , Baltmannsweiler (Schneider-Verlag). 6th edition 2009. ISBN 978-3-8340-0563-2

Web links

Commons : Cycling  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Transport or cargo bikes  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The bicycle capital of Europe: Brussels. Accessed April 30, 2020 .
  2. Paris wants to become Europe's bicycle capital. Accessed April 30, 2020 .
  3. Matthias Schepp, Claudia Thaler, DER SPIEGEL: Moscow wants to become the bicycle capital of Europe - DER SPIEGEL - Reise. Accessed April 30, 2020 .
  4. Cycling: The top ten most bike-friendly cities in Europe. Accessed April 30, 2020 .
  5. ^ Badische Zeitung: Cargo bikes instead of delivery vans - Environment & Nature - Badische Zeitung. Accessed April 30, 2020 .
  6. Deutsche Verkehrswacht (Ed.): The cycling training as an integrated part of the traffic education in the school . Bonn 1989
  7. Dieter Hohenadel: cycling lessons in primary schools and youth traffic school . Braunschweig 1997
  8. ^ Siegbert A. Warwitz: Learning objectives and learning controls in traffic education . In: Ders .: Traffic education from the child. Perceiving-playing-thinking-acting , Baltmannsweiler. 6th edition 2009. Pages 23 and 26–28
  9. Copenhagen starts: Interview with Claus Björn Billehöj ( Memento of the original from May 12, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. which was carried out during Global Energy Basel 2011, Copenhagen City Council @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. ^ Distance-dependent modal split in Germany . In: Cycling in numbers. Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology Austria (bmvit), page 39
  11. Speed ​​of cycling in urban areas compared to other means of transport . In: Cycling in numbers. Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology Austria (bmvit), page 42
  12. Average consumption: 7 l / 100 km; Petrol price 1.43 € / l
  13. 10 reasons why cycling is so healthy (April 30, 2020)
  14. ↑ The miracle cure of cycling: health for body, soul and spirit. March 3, 2017, accessed April 30, 2020 (German).
  15. - With backpack and laptop. Accessed April 30, 2020 (German).
  16. Wolfgang Rauh: Bicycle Traffic Facilities in Austria - Glimmer of Hope or Frustration? In: Velo Secur '90. Salzburg. Proceedings, pp. 75–90.
  17. StVO & 2 (4) and § 45 (9)
  18. General administrative regulation for the road traffic regulations, to § 2 paragraph 9 ff.
  19. Funding guide for cycling
  20. National Cycling Plan for Germany 2002 to 2012, i Internet Archive ( Memento from September 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (pdf; 2.4 MB)
  21. NRVP 2020 at the BMVI
  22. SWR Aktuell, SWR Aktuell: Cycling becomes a university at the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences. Accessed April 30, 2020 .
  23. Bicycle traffic will soon be a degree program. April 21, 2020, accessed April 30, 2020 .
  24. Commentary on the road traffic regulations, Marin Hoffer: StVO in the version of the "drug amendment". ÖAMTC (publisher and publisher), series Verkehrsrecht, Volume I, Vienna 2003
  25. The bicycle in traffic. In: , January 1, 2011. Accessed June 26, 2011.
  26. Mobycon. Retrieved April 30, 2020 (nl-NL).
  27. (PDF, April 30, 2020)