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Old 30.07.2015, 15:45
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Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

I feel like I should start with the obligatory caveat. I did a quick search (without the quotes) for "bicyclists and traffic" and "bicycles and traffic." I found nothing, which seemed strange to me, as it's been a question I've had repeatedly since my arrival in Jan (it might also be a carryover from the various rant-like arguments to which people living in the Washington DC metro area are accustomed).

Bicyclists in Switzerland: which rules must they follow? Those of motor vehicles? Or those of pedestrians? Or some modification/combination of the two.

I ask because when I'm in a motor vehicle, I tend to treat them as motor vehicles (albeit with their own special lane, occasionally). I give space, as necessary, and try not to bump when passing ;-).

I treat people walking with their bicycles as pedestrians such that generally, (as I keep a keen eye on sidewalks as I approach cross walks), I only stop for pedestrians who have dismounted their bicycles in order to cross the street. If a bicyclist is still on his/her bike, I assume he/she will follow his/her requisite traffic law (stop sign, red light, no lefts from the right lane, etc.).

So far, so good. Though I'm still bothered by the bicyclists that weave to the front of a stop light, only to risk a bump from passing cars when the light turns green...

When I am a pedestrian, and as someone who's lived in numerous countries in which cars pay no attention to pedestrians, I won't even step into a cross walk until I'm sure that any 2-ton combination of metal, rubber, and glass hasn't seen me, slowed, and/or stopped. I then hustle across the road so as to repay that courtesy (those who casually stroll across, oblivious to the potential impact of that 2-ton combo to a human body, are the subject of a separate rant).

As this is Switzerland, and I've only been here for seven months, I can only think of one or two times where a car didn't stop. Though I'm unlikely to join the rest of the pedestrians here and just step out blindly...

However, I'm at a complete loss for what to expect from a bicyclist. I've yet to be in a situation where a passing bicyclist made any effort to adjust his/her speed as I entered a cross walk.

Though obviously not 2 tons worth of metal, I still respect the discomfort a passing bicyclist could cause if he/she hit me, so I give way. But, out of curiosity, if I did step forward blindly, expecting any and all vehicles to stop for pedestrians in a cross walk, and was hit by the passing bicyclist (injuring both of us), who would be legally at fault?
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  #2  
Old 30.07.2015, 15:50
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

I think that you are correct about you handle situation with bicycles.
Keep in mind though that many bicyclists think that they are exempt from traffic rules.
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Old 30.07.2015, 16:11
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

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I think that you are correct about you handle situation with bicycles.
Keep in mind though that many bicyclists think that they are exempt from traffic rules.
So do many motorists and pedestrians .
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Old 30.07.2015, 16:11
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

Switzerland is a fantastic place for cycling - except in the cities -hence the unswiss disregard of the rules by cyclists - fascinating part of the national psyche. Is it reasonable to expect a cyclist to stop when you could wait to let them past?
from the legal point of view, I suspect you get hung, drawn and quatered for knocking anybody down on a crossing, even when on a bike.
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Old 30.07.2015, 16:16
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

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Bicyclists in Switzerland: which rules must they follow? Those of motor vehicles? Or those of pedestrians? Or some modification/combination of the two.
Some rules are explained here:
https://www.tcs.ch/de/test-sicherhei...velofahrer.php

In general, they are like motor vehicles, so they have to obey general traffic rules, and yield when necessary (also at pedestrian crossings, I believe)

This is the traffic law:
https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...246/index.html
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Old 30.07.2015, 16:18
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

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Switzerland is a fantastic place for cycling - except in the cities -hence the unswiss disregard of the rules by cyclists - fascinating part of the national psyche. Is it reasonable to expect a cyclist to stop when you could wait to let them past?
from the legal point of view, I suspect you get hung, drawn and quatered for knocking anybody down on a crossing, even when on a bike.
Is it reasonable to expect a car to stop when you could wait to let it pass?

Maybe when I finally get a bike here (so very unSwiss of me, I know), I'll empathize a bit more.
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Old 30.07.2015, 18:06
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

Several related issues here:

1. No question - cyclists are required to obey the highway code, with some specific rules but in general the same as for a car or other motor vehicle.

2. Yes, many cyclists don't do so, and I have even been guilty myself of going through a red light (when turning right, for example, and when obviously safe to do so).

3. Yes, it's very common for a pedestrian to assert their right of way on a crossing. Some recent campaigns have urged peds to make eye contact with the driver before crossing and to avoid making a car brake.
To perhaps a lesser extent the same is true for cyclists, but often they can just cycle around, so may not always be forced to stop.

4. Yes, I've known cyclists, on a cycle path next to a crossing, try to make me stop. I'm generally considerate and will often try and slow down and wave them across but on occasion will assert my own right to make them stop as they should.
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Old 31.07.2015, 08:33
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

To sum up how this thread is going to pan out as this discussion never comes up at all on EF.

- Some cyclists follow the Highway Code and some do not

- Some motorists follow the Highway Code and some do not

- Some cyclists have been observed running red lights, riding on pavements, eating babies, shooting cute bunny rabbits. Therefore all cyclists are bad.

- Ditto motorists

Cyclists: All motorists and pedestrians should be strangled at birth
Motorists: Ditto cyclists and pedestrians
Pedestrians: Ditto cyclists and motorists.

Can I go back to my bacon sarni now?

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 31.07.2015, 09:57
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

OP, EF standard search function is a joke, use Google-powered only. Slightly different search words bring tons of hits, e.g. "bycicle laws", "bicycle traffic".
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Old 31.07.2015, 10:10
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

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To sum up how this thread is going to pan out as this discussion never comes up at all on EF.

- Some cyclists follow the Highway Code and some do not

- Some motorists follow the Highway Code and some do not

- Some cyclists have been observed running red lights, riding on pavements, eating babies, shooting cute bunny rabbits. Therefore all cyclists are bad.

- Ditto motorists

Cyclists: All motorists and pedestrians should be strangled at birth
Motorists: Ditto cyclists and pedestrians
Pedestrians: Ditto cyclists and motorists.

Can I go back to my bacon sarni now?

Cheers,
Nick
Not yet: You have forgotten about pre-natal testing for Jeremy Clarkson genes -then we can avoid getting as far as a motorist being born - now if Jeremy had been born a mountain-biker
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Old 31.07.2015, 15:58
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

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Can I go back to my bacon sarni now?
Depends on whether you're driving or riding and whether you still have a spare hand to hold your coffee and update this thread..

Actually, more importantly, brown sauce or ketchup?
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Old 09.08.2015, 13:32
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

As a non-aggressive, rather slow riding cyclist, who 99% follows the traffic rules (not crossing at red light, not running over pedestrians at the pedestrian path , giving way to whoever wants it ... motorists usually think they want it...)


.... I am very often confronted with Pedestrians who cross bike lanes not looking left or right, also crossing "Zebrastreifen" not looking left or right (obviously preferring to be right but dead, i.e. run over by a not attentive car driver), motorists who open their car doors, speed out of garages, turn left or right, cutting my bike way, not looking left or right ...

It could work great if ALL would just drive or walk a bit more concious and look out for people, cars, bikes, etc. around them arghhhhhhhhhhh.
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Old 09.08.2015, 14:35
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

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.... I am very often confronted with Pedestrians .....crossing "Zebrastreifen" not looking left or right (obviously preferring to be right but dead, i.e. run over by a not attentive car driver),
I want to put in a word for the little old ladies who are sometimes reputed to 'jump out onto the road without looking left or right'.

When one is getting slightly more advanced in years (OLD) one can often neither see quite so clearly, nor can one hear quite so well as the youngsters - and only the very fittest among us can 'jump out onto the road'. So what might be happening?
We turn towards the road we want to cross. Then we look down to see if we are fairly near the kerb. If we turn our heads quickly, we tend to lose our balance a little and wearing varifocals, we can only see clearly through the centre of the lenses, so we turn our head quite a long way, slowly, from left, to right, then slowly 'glance left again'. By this time we have forgotten how far from the kerb we are standing and how high it is. As we are still wearing the varifocal glasses, we cannot see clearly if we just 'glance down' either (that's the reading bit of our spectacles) but have to bend the head further. After ensuring that the our feet are OK and raising our head, we step out into the road under the wheels of the approaching car. Edit: which we cannot hear either!

And although a bit of an exaggeration it is not all that far from the truth. In the same way as if you see a ball rolling into the road you watch out for the child following it, if you see a little old lady looking at her feet, it might just be the preparation to her bold step into the unknown.
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Last edited by Longbyt; 09.08.2015 at 15:23.
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Old 09.08.2015, 14:58
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

Tip for little old ladies: Either hold out your little purse, the one with the cobble stone against thieves inside, onto the street, while keep your balance with your walking stick, or hold out your walking stick or umbrella, while using your purse (the one with the cobble stone) as a counter balance. Walk (a.k.a shuffle your feet) once the traffic comes to a full stop.


Last edited by aSwissInTheUS; 09.08.2015 at 22:43.
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Old 09.08.2015, 15:17
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

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Tip for little old laddies:
That is the male form. Do we little old ladies have to do the same?
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Old 09.08.2015, 15:21
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

yeah, the old ladies (and old gentlemen) with sticks... I recommend to keep them at (large) distance, as the might use their walking stick to hit bikers (somehow the manage to stand firmly on their feed without the stick while on such "mission")

And for those that really need it (the stick) to walk in order not to stress them ...
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Old 09.08.2015, 15:33
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

Surely, there's 1 law for everybody who uses the road, to have any more would just escalate every problem and who decides which law to use, cyclist law or auto law ?
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Old 09.08.2015, 16:02
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

Age is no barrier to idiotic behaviour. When we were coming back from Pontarlier yesterday, a young woman was crossing the road at a roundabout (no actual pedestrian crossings for her to use). She never looked before she stepped out into the road, never stopped to check whether a car was approaching. No excuse of having headphones/earplugs attached to I-pad, talking/texting on phone, etc, either. Hubby slowed down and gave a little toot of the horn just to alert her to the fact he was there and she looked totally bemused about why he'd tooted his horn. Guy behind us then blew his horn because he obviously wasn't aware of why our car had stopped for no good reason exiting the roundabout. Really is it any surprise sometimes people get run over and it's not the driver's fault. It was only because we'd stopped at the roundabout entrance before we could move on that we were going so slowly. Any driver going round there at normal speed would probably have hit her.
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Old 09.08.2015, 18:21
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

Scooter 400cc rider today.. Red light and in the turning right lane... hops off scooter.. pushes it round the corner on the pavement for about 5m hops on again and rides off.

Interesting
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Old 09.08.2015, 18:49
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Re: Bicyclists & Traffic Laws

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Scooter 400cc rider today.. Red light and in the turning right lane... hops off scooter.. pushes it round the corner on the pavement for about 5m hops on again and rides off.

Interesting
Certainly would have been if Mr. Plod had been just around same corner
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