Biking in the City
May • 4th, 2019
by Expat in the City Team
Biking in Munich
When it comes to expat life, a lot of times we talk about moving to a new city. Now, what about moving within the new city? The people of Munich, for example, love to be on their bikes – when they go to work, take their kids to school, or meet their friends – which is why Bavaria’s capital is also known to be the “Radlhauptstadt” (“Capital of Bikes”). And sometimes, it can feel a little challenging when you don’t know the rules and habits of the locals.
But fear not! Today, we will take you by the hand and lead you through 3 important things to know about Munich’s bike-riding life. So when you grab that bike and helmet of yours, you are prepared to master that challenge!
1. Traffic Lights
Imagine this: You are on your bike, approaching an intersection, but there are so many traffic lights. Which one applies to you? If you are on the road, the light for the cars, is also for you – so if they stop because it’s red, you have to do the same. If you are on a separate bike lane and there is a traffic light with a bike on it (by itself or with a small figure), you already guessed it: this one is for you. And now it gets somewhat confusing: if you are on the separate bike lane, and there is no extra light for you, the one regulating the cars will apply to you as well (not the one for the pedestrians).
The people of Munich love to be on their bikes!
2. Bike Lanes
Munich is no Amsterdam, but it is still pretty bike-friendly: we have a lot of nicely-paved bike lanes, sometimes going by the car lane, sometimes separately next to the sidewalk. If you want to know where all of them are, the City of Munich even offers a Munich cycling city map: http://www.muenchen.de/int/en/traffic/biking/cycling-maps.html
And don’t forget: unless otherwise signposted, don’t use bike lanes in the opposite direction as it is dangerous and can result in fines. (Also, if you want to make fellow bikers happy, stay on the right of the lane, or else you might hear a somewhat grumpy “Obacht!” (“Watch out!”), when they are trying to pass you.)
While there is no requirement to wear a helmet, we want you to stay safe and suggest you add one to your biking accessories.
Navigating a new city isn’t always easy, but it can be a lot of fun and once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll feel like the other locals who love biking through the Radlhauptstadt.
If you want to know more about cycling in Germany in general, the “Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club ADFC” (the German Cyclist’s Association) offers some of its web presence in English: https://www.adfc.de/about-us/about-us