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Bike Regulations in Europe

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Bike Regulations in Europe

Old 04-16-19, 10:24 AM
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schoolboy2 
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Bike Regulations in Europe

We're about to start a three month bike tour across France, Germany and Denmark. Are there any regulations requiring headlamps, tail lights, fenders or any other bike safety gear in Europe that I need to be aware of? Can I use a rear facing blinking red light?
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Old 04-16-19, 10:36 AM
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AFAIK red rail lights cannot blink.. in Germany .. the lights they export do not.

On my several tours in Europe I was picking our my campsites before sunset

which in northern latitudes was much later in the day so I was ready to stop. .


you can ask the countries tourist information centers for the various countries, on line , of course..

to get real answers ..





....

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-16-19 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 04-16-19, 11:07 AM
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Have you tried google?

https://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_...ir_vehicles_en

I was particularly amused by the following: " In Spain, cyclists have to wear a helmet outside urban areas except when going uphill"
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Old 04-16-19, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
I was particularly amused by the following: " In Spain, cyclists have to wear a helmet outside urban areas except when going uphill"
Which means if you ride in most of Andalucía you can legally spend much of your time without a helmet.
*
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Old 04-17-19, 12:29 PM
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If you live there, you comply with local ordinances. If you reside elsewhere and you're just passing through on tour, your bike only has to comply with:

International Convention on Road Traffic
Vienna, Austria November 8, 1968

Chapter V

CONDITIONS FOR THE ADMISSION OF CYCLES AND MOPEDS TO INTERNATIONAL TRAFFIC
ARTICLE 44

Cycles without an engine in international traffic shall:
(a)Have an efficient brake;
(b) Be equipped with a bell capable of being heard at a sufficient distance, and carry no other audible warning device;
(c) Be equipped with a red reflecting device at the rear and with devices such that the cycle can show a white or selective-yellow light to the front and a red light to the rear.



I like the PlanetBike Grateful Red integrated tail lamp/reflector, but note there are two models: one uses a USB rechargeable battery and the other (probably what you want for touring) uses 2xAAA. CatEye offered an AA-powered tail lamp/reflector, the TL-LD500, for years but doesn't seem to catalog it anymore (but still available on ebay!)

Last edited by tcs; 04-17-19 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 04-17-19, 12:35 PM
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'Pavement' means 'sidewalk' in American.
"Motorway' means 'limited access highway (interstate, freeway or tollway)' in American.

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Old 04-17-19, 12:38 PM
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Some of the countries I have visited had a requirement for bicycles to be equipped with a bell. I THINK Germany was one of them, but not certain. Also, some countries have confusing laws about when having to use a sidepath when one is present (I'm pretty sure Germany was one, but again, not entirely certain.) This was frustrating as the sidepath was frequently inadequate and in worse condition than the nice, smooth asphalt on the road just a couple arm lengths away, not to mention having to negotiate a loaded bike through pedestrians, baby carriages, people waiting at bus stops, etc.) But, the sidepath had one of those little blue round bicycle signs so was clearly not intended as solely a pedestrian sidewalk.
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Old 04-17-19, 02:50 PM
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It’s probably not as big an issue as you think. Just plead ignorance if you get pulled over. I’m going out on a limb here, but my guess is the police over there have other things to deal with.
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Old 04-17-19, 06:36 PM
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Just don't do the obnoxious flashy light crap and you'll be fine.
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Old 04-18-19, 11:24 AM
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Spain requires helmets, some places frown on blinkies, and most require a bell. Stick a bell anywhere on there, make sure your light can stay steady, and have a helmet if you are heading to Spain, and worst case you'll just get a talking to for the blinky if it is problematic

In general, I doubt you'll ever have an issue. I fretted the first time I went too, I've quickly learned not to.

EDIT: oops missed you weren't going to Spain. Don't worry about helmets, if they're not your thing, they're far less common there than here.
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Old 04-18-19, 01:58 PM
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Fortunately, I had a bell on my bike the last time I toured in Europe. Otherwise, I might be languishing in one of those europrisons.

Somebody needs to report those Tour de France et Giro d'Italia riders to the authorities.
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Old 04-18-19, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
Somebody needs to report those Tour de France et Giro d'Italia riders to the authorities.
Haha! There's the "out" if a cop stops you. "Sir, can we please make this stop as quick as possible? I'm in the middle of a race!"
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Old 04-18-19, 04:01 PM
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Thanks for all the great info. I'll be getting us bells as we don't have them currently.

Why are blinking rear lights forbidden??
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Old 04-18-19, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by schoolboy2 View Post
Thanks for all the great info. I'll be getting us bells as we don't have them currently.

Why are blinking rear lights forbidden??
I would hazard a guess that in Europe they consider it obnoxious to look at and cannot fathom that you would need to have these to keep an inattentive motorist from running you over, as they do here in the U.S. Killing cyclists in most European countries, while you drive and text at the same time, is actually considered a crime in a lot of places.
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Old 04-18-19, 07:01 PM
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You could give this forum a post- https://forum.cyclinguk.org- it's in the UK and people on it are cycling on the continent all the time.
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Old 04-18-19, 11:54 PM
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There’s an island just off the northwest coast of France where everyone drives on the wrong side of the road.
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Old 04-19-19, 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by schoolboy2 View Post
Thanks for all the great info. I'll be getting us bells as we don't have them currently.

Why are blinking rear lights forbidden??
Other than the simple fact that they're obnoxious to everyone around you... Over there they realize that the flashing lights are a hazard, from studies people have done. Their laws often tend to be a little better researched and thought out with regard to such things. Flashing lights are a US thing. The rest of the world does, however, require sufficient lights, not just dim little bull**** lights or no lights, like people ride around with in the US. Looking into and studying the situation of cyclists getting hit rather than just reacting and going "Oh, people are getting hit, we need laser intensity strobe lights to make sure everyone is seen!" is why they don't allow the bright flashing lights. Studies have actually shown that flashing lights cause a lot of drivers to focus on the lights. People, no matter bike, car, walking, whatever, tend to go toward whatever they're focusing on. That's why when learning most sports such as biking, skiing, motorsport racing, etc, they teach you to look where you Want to go, not at whatever you're trying to avoid. You go where you're looking. Notice that a lot of cop cars went from regular flashing lights long ago, to crazy bright, hyper flashing lights not too long ago, and now a lot of them have toned back down? I've actually seen some very recently that barely even flash. Once the cop is stopped, they just turn them on solid blue and red with occasional pulses in the lights. That's because when a lot of officers were being hit, the people that hit them often said they were staring at the lights. That led them to drive closer to the police car and not focus as much on the surroundings. You tend to lose site of everything else when you have a bright strobe light in front of you. Surface area is also better than brightness. Yes, your light needs to be bright enough to be visible, but for some reason in our country people tend toward a 50,000 lumen single LED rather than a nice, large area light. A 1' square, even much less brightly lit, will be generally more visible than a laser beam. A couple inch wide or more, visible, constant light is the way to go. According to studies and people outside of the US, it's safer, and you don't have to be obnoxious or blinding to be seen.
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Old 04-19-19, 10:12 AM
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OP - Kudos for wanting to be a good guest/visitor on your tour. That said, don't over think this. I've read hundreds of travelogs and viewed thousands of images and can't recall anyone ever mentioning their locally noncompliant bicycle was an issue.

Originally Posted by schoolboy2 View Post
Why are blinking rear lights forbidden??
For a foreign tourist, I don't think they are. After all, a blinky lamp allows you to 'show a red light to the rear' as required by the Vienna Convention. Now that I've made a meaningless internet point, yeah, just set the lamp on steady when it's time to ride back to the campground from the biergarten.

Hope you have a wonderful trip!
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Old 04-19-19, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
Surface area is also better than brightness.
Time and technology march on. We now have bright lights and well-shaped beams. Hopefully, the next 'area' of improvement by manufacturers who want to distinguish themselves from commodity offerings will be area (!) and we'll leave the point source lamps behind and return to larger format illumination. (reference old Schmidt E6, modern generic)

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Old 04-19-19, 11:36 AM
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Thank you TCS and others for your thoughtful comments and answers.
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Old 04-19-19, 11:39 AM
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LED headlight replaced the Halogen bulb E6

still hub dynamo powered ..
though not as strictly needing a 3w load total , 2.4+0.6 or 3w bulb, if no tail light
Which a Halogen or incandescent bulb is needing..

you show a battery powered light , not the successor to the hub dynamo headlight (by same company)
a whole different product sector (Though It may use a Diode instead of a bulb)






...
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Old 04-19-19, 12:19 PM
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Flashing lights powerful enough to warn distracted drivers in daylight can and have caused mayhem at night. Solid lights at night is required throughout the real world. I have the Son SL hub, the Edelux II headlight and the Busch & Müller Toplight Line Brake Plus tail light. For daylight safety I have the Dinotte Daytime Red Taillight. I only use the Dinotte during daylight hours as per request when you purchase it. I was in Germany my last 13 months in the military. Other than racing bicycles, bicycles were sold with lights on them. They even have standards for how bright is allowed and the light frequency. They didn't have stand lights built in then, but I purchased an inline battery unit that detected when you stopped and powered the lights. It used 4 d cell batteries with a mechanical relay. I was on a German path on a road bicycle and had to avoid several ladies walking with buggies. After that I road on the road only. I never was confronted by the police about not using the path.
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Old 04-26-19, 05:33 PM
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My wife and I were told by a policeman in Poland to get off a busy road with no shoulders and use the sidewalk when riding through a small town. I don't think it was against the law; he just was thinking about our safety. I suspect they did not see too many bike tourists in that section of the country.
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Old 04-26-19, 06:34 PM
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Most of the German STVO dynamo lights are excellent. Even the little AXA Pico lights we use on our touring rigs, think they were like 15 euros each. Bright enough for any situation you're likely to find yourself in while touring, except maybe racing down a mountain pass at night. The tail lights were something like 5 euros each and can been from a few hundred metres away even during the day. SP dynamo also make excellent dynamo hubs, think I paid something like 65euro for a 36 hole disc brake version. Then get a Forumslader from Germany and you probably have the ultimate touring set up, lights, heaps of USB power.
For reflectors, I've gone to getting hold of SOLAS grade marine reflective tape, finding red is hard but white is easy. Stick little bits of that around the place and you're covered. A bell. And an Air Zounds for when that won't cut it. Air Zounds are fun at empty tunnels too, tootling vigorously and listening to the echoes.
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Old 04-30-19, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by schoolboy2 View Post
Thanks for all the great info. I'll be getting us bells as we don't have them currently.

Why are blinking rear lights forbidden??
Should I use blinking bicycle lights? - Bikeshed
Many manufacturers include blinking modes because some people think it is safer because people in cars will see them better; an assumption which has not been proven. It is even more far fetched to to state that flashing lights are safer. It's an interesting topic, since it all depends on the conditions and expectations of those involved.

Various studies into the differences between flashing and continuous lights in various applications (for example for snow ploughs) have yielded the following conclusions:
  • Flashing lights are easier to notice.
  • It is harder to judge distance of a blinking light.
  • Intoxicated drivers somehow manage to run into blinking lights thanks to the the "moth effect"
The fact that it is harder to estimate the distance is a pretty serious argument against flashing lights. The noticeability also depends on the lack of other flashing lights.
Germany and the Netherlands has done a lot of research into bicycle lights and basically; steady lights are easier to track and will stand out just as much if not more than blinking lights when it comes to driver response.
Most cops won't pull you over if you ride with a blinking light but you are more likely to be ticketed when they do.

Other than that, buy some cycling maps or look up what routes there are. And stay off the highway. In the Netherlands we have had to pluck tourists off the A10 ring of Amsterdam where there is a 100km/h (60mph) speed limit. That's just dangerous.

Last edited by JaccoW; 04-30-19 at 02:51 AM.
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