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-   -   Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English? (https://www.englishforum.ch/transportation-driving/295129-swiss-cycling-rules-guidance-english.html)

makeabigwish 11.11.2019 15:08

Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
Hello,

Can anyone point me to a guide or rules of the road for cycling around Zurich city in English?

The whole culture around cycling in the city is completely different than my free-for-all home country... many more rules.

I will think I am behaving myself, being a good courteous citizen, following the cucling allowed signs and then this hazy feeling descends on me that Iím unwittingly breaking some rule and not quite where Iím supposed to be,unbeknownst to me. ( A common feeling for expats in CH)

With the advent of publibikes in ZH, I think there is a wave of newcomers to Zurich cycling hopping on bikes who havenít been cycling much around the city in the past.

Thanks for any help.

Guest 11.11.2019 15:16

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
I think you can go far just on common sense alone - don't ride on the pavement, don't jump the traffic lights, don't cut up other vehicles, etc.

Take reasonable safety precautions; decent lights, helmet, bright clothing, etc.

Although, having said all that, a fair % of cyclists ride like morons here with no regard for either their own safety or those around them, so keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you.

I was once roared at by a very angry chap on two wheels because I stopped at a red light and he clearly wanted to cycle on through and I got in his way.

aSwissInTheUS 11.11.2019 15:34

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
The rules in the city of Zurich are simply:
Cars and pedestrians are a nuisance, traffic lights a mere suggestions. Lights, reflectors are for grannies and small kids only.

Or.

Keep to the right except in roundabouts where you should drive in the middle of the lane. Use cycle lanes and paths, do not use the autobahn or autostrasse (roads with green signs), otherwise act like you are in a car or on a motorbike. Like, do not drive on the side walk and stop at red traffic lights, let pedestrian cross a zebra crossings. Unlike a motorbike, you are allowed to skip the line and pass on the right up to the fron of the traffic light. Instead of indicators use your right and left arm to indicate turns and lane changes. Turn on the lights from dusk till dawn.

Be aware that the tram has priority unless it comes from a minor road into a main road. Be careful as your life depends on it. Also be aware of tram tracks. If you fall you might get seriously hurt, people laugh their asses off, and the police might even fine you for "improper control of the vehicle" Art. 32 SVG the catch me all clause of the law.

Signs which forbid cycling:
https://www.englishforum.ch/attachme...no-cycling.jpg
You are allowed to push unless pedestrians are also not allowed. The one on the top right is a bus lane. Keep off it unless explicitly allowed. Same goes for footpaths.

Signs which allow cycling:
https://www.englishforum.ch/attachme...nd-cycling.jpg
You must use a cycle lane or cycle path going in your direction of travel.

https://www.tcs.ch/de/testberichte-r...elo-fahren.php

John_H 11.11.2019 15:48

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
Genuine question ..
Are cycle lane traffic lights actually enforcable / do they mean anything or are they just nice to have?

Geneve - Quai Gustave-Ador ..
It's a big long two way bike lane that runs from the Jardin Anglais pretty much right out of town and towards France. There are traffic lights with bike symbol on them at various crossing points. They allow pedestrians to cross etc.. They are not the same lights as for the cars on the road beside but they do change at the same time.

Literally nobody take any notice of these lights, they are completely ignored..
I know that 87.4% of cyclists ignore general red traffic lights but are the bike only lights even meaningful at all?

aSwissInTheUS 11.11.2019 16:01

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
A cycle lane is part of the road itself. The big lights alone are good enough and apply to the cycle lane as well.
A cycle path on the other hand is separated from the road and the lights of the main road do not apply.

Traffic lights with a cycle symbol specifically apply to cyclists. They might allow a head start for the cyclists. If used on a cycle path they apply to the cyclist using the path.

See Art. 70 OSR https://www.admin.ch/opc/fr/classifi...index.html#a70

John_H 11.11.2019 16:08

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by aSwissInTheUS (Post 3119193)
A cycle lane is part of the road itself. The big lights alone are good enough and apply to the cycle lane as well.

Traffic lights with a cycle symbol specifically apply to cyclists. They might allow a head start for the cyclists.

See Art. 70 OSR https://www.admin.ch/opc/fr/classifi...index.html#a70

The one I mention is not part of the road though.. It's actually a two way cycle only "road" .. Beside the actual road. (Unfortunately the good maps data is too old, doesn't show it) Each has it's own traffic lights.

The proper road has big normal traffic lights, the cycle road has it's own little traffic lights.

bigblue2 11.11.2019 16:11

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
no signs or lights are intended for cyclists and they always have right of way regardless, they can ride wherever they like, whenever they like and abandon their bikes anywhere.

that seems to be the law in zurich (and every other swiss town)

aSwissInTheUS 11.11.2019 16:15

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by John_H (Post 3119194)
The one I mention is not part of the road though.. It's actually a two way cycle only "road" .

So, a cycle path. I have updated the answer. And yes traffic lights with a cycle symbol apply to cyclist and must be observed. Be aware about the very harsh fines which could lead to bankruptcy: CHF 60 It is item 615.1 on the price list https://www.admin.ch/opc/fr/classifi...ndex.html#app1

John_H 11.11.2019 16:33

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by aSwissInTheUS (Post 3119198)
So, a cycle path. I have updated the answer. And yes traffic lights with a cycle symbol apply to cyclist and must be observed. Be aware about the very harsh fines which could lead to bankruptcy: CHF 60 It is item 615.1 on the price list https://www.admin.ch/opc/fr/classifi...ndex.html#app1

I guess that's why they are wholesale ignored then..

I did see a magnificent incident recently, I was stopped at the red lights on my little electro scooter.
A guy on a stromer, laden with gadgets and luminous clothing and flashing lights came rapidly along, clearly no intention of stopping..
An old guy was mid way across the path, crossing on foot and he turned and faced the stromer head on raising his walking stick and shouting ..
Mr stromer swerved and fell off spectacularly .. Both me and the old guy laughed and pointed to the red light as he surveyed his broken bike.

Guest 11.11.2019 16:49

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by John_H (Post 3119204)
I guess that's why they are wholesale ignored then..

I did see a magnificent incident recently, I was stopped at the red lights on my little electro scooter.
A guy on a stromer, laden with gadgets and luminous clothing and flashing lights came rapidly along, clearly no intention of stopping..
An old guy was mid way across the path, crossing on foot and he turned and faced the stromer head on raising his walking stick and shouting ..
Mr stromer swerved and fell off spectacularly .. Both me and the old guy laughed and pointed to the red light as he surveyed his broken bike.

Just desserts as it might be for the cyclist, you have to be careful that you don't cause an accident such as you have suggested the old guy with the walking stick may have done.

Frustrating as it may seem, blame tends to be apportioned here and if the cyclist would otherwise have continued without incident, despite barreling through a red light, and the stick-waving guy unnecessarily caused the swerve and subsequent accident, he would likely have been in trouble, at least partially.

Had the old guy been hit by the cyclist purely because he hadn't seen him and was therefore the victim of an accident, then he wouldn't be in trouble.

Principia Discordia 11.11.2019 16:57

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
Quote:

I think you can go far just on common sense alone - don't ride on the pavement,
Don't ride on the pavement? Where the heck did you come up with that rule?

Tom1234 11.11.2019 17:07

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
Not all cyclists break the rules.

When living in the U.K, I was waiting at a red light with my Swiss wife. We were on our bikes.

Three lads came went straight through the red light without stopping. My wife shouted at them in English and they were quite rude to her in Swiss-German back.

We soon caught up with them and my wife, to their astonishment, she gave them a verbal-bollocking in schweizerdeutsch!

makeabigwish 11.11.2019 18:37

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
I try to be courteous around pedestrians because I hate how cyclists come too close and fast in ZH when Iím a pedestrian.

However, on the flip side, it seems annoying the number of paths that are marked for cyclists, then a short stretch the bikes are forbidden, and you are officially made to go in some obscure convoluted, traffic congested way around, only to then rejoin the same path just a very short length later.

I once asked a bicycle courier ďI want to go just from here to just right there (pointing as short distance visible ahead). If I am following the rules of where bikes are allowed, do I have to go all the way around this convoluted many-stop-light-take-forever-circuitous way, rather than just going from straight here to there?Ē. He confirmed technically yes.

Assuming you arenít mowing down pedestrians or causing cars and trams difficulty, how much do the police and everyone else care where cyclists ride or expect them to always only be on a marked bicycle path?

aSwissInTheUS 11.11.2019 19:04

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by makeabigwish (Post 3119272)
If I am following the rules of where bikes are allowed, do I have to go all the way around this convoluted many-stop-light-take-forever-circuitous way, rather than just going from straight here to there?”. He confirmed technically yes.

Schmiede Wiedikon?

Quote:

Originally Posted by makeabigwish (Post 3119272)
expect them to always only be on a marked bicycle path?

No. If there is one you have to use it. If there is none it is still perfectly fine to ride on the road (exceptions given in above post).

Quote:

Originally Posted by makeabigwish (Post 3119272)
how much do the police and everyone else care where cyclists ride

Me as a pedestrian: DO NOT RIDE ON THE PAVEMENT. Use the effing road where you belong.
Me as a bus or tram user: DO NOT MAKE MY BUS/TRAM RUN LATE. Get off the track/bus lane, I have to catch a train.
Me as a car drive: DO NOT MAKE ME HIT THE BRAKES. I hate to nibble out bone splinters from the radiator and wash down brain splatters from the windshield.
Me as motorbike rider: DO NOT MAKE ME HIT THE BRAKES. If we crash I might fall too and that will hurt.
Me as a fellow cyclist: DO NOT CRASH INTO ME OR CURSE ME. I am just following the effing rules you moron.

NotAllThere 11.11.2019 22:16

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom1234 (Post 3119219)
Not all cyclists break the rules.

This is true. It's the minority who are morons - and they're the ones we notice.

I cannot comprehend why anyone would cycle at night without lights.

nickatbasel 12.11.2019 08:07

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
I cycle every day to work - it works out faster than taking a tram as the route is more direct.

Compared to towns in the Netherlands, cycling infrastructure (at least in Basel and Zurich) in Swiss towns is quite lacking. If you know the towns, it is possible to work out routes with fewer cars on but there certainly isn’t the comprehensive set of fully segregated cycle lanes you find in NL.

The emergence of rent-a-bikes, e-bikes and rentable e-scooters has increased the number of inconsiderate w<automoderated>s who can’t tell the difference between road and pavement. Add to that the car drivers who think cycle lanes are form of free parking. And the car drivers who think drive time is the ideal moment to check their Facebook on their mobiles.

This website - https://bikeable.ch/ - has some examples of where cycle lanes suddenly stop and you’re forced to cycle in the middle of three lane traffic - e.g. Bucheggplatz going from Hofwiesenstrasse anti-clockwise to RŲtelstrasse.

Have fun.
Nick

Principia Discordia 13.11.2019 21:05

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
I'm glad we're focusing on the real danger of scofflaw cyclists here, I don't have my numbers on me but I'm sure those two wheeled bastards are responsible for way more than the 200+ deaths, 20,000+ injures, 2,000,000+ speeding tickets and 15 million tons of co2 emissions attributed to cars and their rigorously law abiding owners in Switzerland every year. Goddamn cyclists.

makeabigwish 14.11.2019 11:16

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Principia Discordia (Post 3120104)
I'm glad we're focusing on the real danger of scofflaw cyclists here, I don't have my numbers on me but I'm sure those two wheeled bastards are responsible for way more than the 200+ deaths, 20,000+ injures, 2,000,000+ speeding tickets and 15 million tons of co2 emissions attributed to cars and their rigorously law abiding owners in Switzerland every year. Goddamn cyclists.


Itís crazy but before I started cycling around ZH, I hated how many ZH cyclists came way too fast way too close to me as a pedestrian when they could have easily driven safer.

Now that Iím trying to get into a ZH cycling habit, Iím finding it hard to figure out what the rules are, where the rules just donít make sense because they arenít thought out properly and basically when should I just drive the easiest path that practically works for everyone on that direction.

... where do people say. ďthis makes no sense, screw it, Iím just going from here to there, no one seems to care anyway, it doesnít seem to impact anyone and everyone seems to be doing it because the offical way makes no logical senseĒ

...any thoughts from experience cyclists welcome.

.... the problem is few are going to admit what they do in reality in an online forum and if they honestly say what most people wonít admit to then theyíll probably get flamed.

Guest 14.11.2019 11:24

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by makeabigwish (Post 3120254)
Itís crazy but before I started cycling around ZH, I hated how many ZH cyclists came way too fast way too close to me as a pedestrian when they could have easily driven safer.

Now that Iím trying to get into a ZH cycling habit, Iím finding it hard to figure out what the rules are, where the rules just donít make sense because they arenít thought out properly and basically when should I just drive the easiest path that practically works for everyone on that direction.

... where do people say. ďthis makes no sense, screw it, Iím just going from here to there, no one seems to care anyway, it doesnít seem to impact anyone and everyone seems to be doing it because the official way makes no logical senseĒ

...any thoughts from experience cyclists welcome.

.... the problem is few are going to admit what they do in reality in an online forum and if they honestly say what most people wonít admit to then theyíll probably get flamed.

I've been cycling here for many years and can honestly say I (think!) I don't break any rules. I'm also a driver so I try to ride my bike with a similar regard for other road users and pedestrians, as well as traffic signals, as I would with the car.

I'm not entirely sure what you are trying to achieve, though? Are you looking for rules that are "flexible", which you perceive other cyclists to be breaking without doing too much harm?

Maybe if you have a route which you do every day which, over time, you can figure out where you can "bend" a rule or two without too much risk, you could try that. But all that comes with experience and time, unique to the road user.

makeabigwish 16.11.2019 09:15

Re: Swiss Cycling Rules & Guidance in English?
 
Quote:

I've been cycling here for many years and can honestly say I (think!) I don't break any rules. I'm also a driver so I try to ride my bike with a similar regard for other road users and pedestrians, as well as traffic signals, as I would with the car.

I'm not entirely sure what you are trying to achieve, though? Are you looking for rules that are "flexible", which you perceive other cyclists to be breaking without doing too much harm?

Maybe if you have a route which you do every day which, over time, you can figure out where you can "bend" a rule or two without too much risk, you could try that. But all that comes with experience and time, unique to the road user.

Thanks for your help.

I donít have a regular route and will go all over the place.

Mainly, Iím not used to so many rules about where one can or can not cycle and the idea that anyone cares where you ride. So it just seems as Iím roaming around and I want to go from a simple here to there, I am constantly being hit with ďoops, not really supposed to go that way, now supposedly should go all around that wayĒ. Iím used to navigating this with a car but by bike it feels a lot more illogical to strictly follow the rules because on my small little bike, I just want to cut across to X and people seems to be doing it anyway.


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