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Families in Berlin - Mother and daughter on bike
Mother and daughter on bike © Getty Images, Foto. GeorgeRudy

Cycling in Berlin

15 tips for how you can safely cycle through Berlin

Lots of wide streets and hardly a hill in the whole urban area – cycling is a fantastic way to explore Berlin. Here we’ll give you a few tips for how you can cycle safely through the city without experiencing any problems.

Tip 1: Wear a helmet

Cycle carefully and with foresight – and always wear a helmet. That’s because cyclists are often the ones who suffer the most when there is an accident. Even though there is no legal obligation to wear a helmet in Germany: do yourself a favour and protect you and your head as well as you can, preferably with a helmet.

Tip 2: Never cycle through red lights

Of course, in a big city lots of people are in a hurry and some quickly dart across the road as the traffic lights turn red. Don’t let yourself be infected with this hectic attitude. Three minutes earlier or later – in most cases it doesn’t make any difference. So why take the unnecessary risk of colliding with another road user?

Tip 3: Cycle on the right side of the road

In Berlin, as is the case throughout Germany, traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road. There are however a few pitfalls to this rule. On main roads you may only use the cycle paths on the side of road in the direction that the cars are also travelling. Particularly for short distances in the opposite direction this can be a bit laborious, but this is for your own safety.

Tip 4: Cycle on the right-hand side of the lane – and never on the pavement

Admittedly this does sound a bit banal at first. Yet especially at intersections where there is more than one lane, things can get a bit confusing sometimes. So even when you want to turn left, it is advisable to first cycle straight ahead past the side street and then cross the street when the traffic from the side street crosses the intersection.
And if there is no cycle lane on a road, you should use the right-hand side of the lane.
By the way: the pavement is only for pedestrians. Always therefore cycle on the cycle path or on the road.

Tip 5: Stopping and turning

Before you want to stop or turn, always have a look over your shoulder to observe the traffic behind you. If you stop, you should always raise your hand to indicate this before doing so.

young man makes a bike tour
young man makes a bike tour © Getty Images, Foto: PeopleImages

Tip 6: Beware of vehicles turning right

It is one of the most frequent causes of accidents: you are cycling up to a green light and want to cycle across the intersection. The vehicle next to you in the lane wants to turn right – and fails to see you because you are in their blind spot. These types of accidents frequently result in the cyclist having to be taken to hospital. Therefore, you should always make sure that the vehicles in front and beside you can keep an eye on you. Because even though you have the right of way, it is often you as an unprotected cyclist who suffers the most from such an accident.

Tip 7: Watch out for parking cars

This scenario also often ends in injury for cyclists: Someone parks their vehicle on the roadside and the occupants open their doors and you can no longer avoid them on your bicycle. Therefore, it is advisable to maintain a certain safe distance from cars that are parallel parked. In addition, you should keep an eye on the traffic in front of you and especially on parking cars.

Tip 8: Don’t get distracted

Taking a glance at your phone for a moment, or a snapshot of a beautiful building façade, or cycling through sunny Berlin to the sound of summery music – the city offers many temptations to cyclists. But don’t get too distracted in the busy city traffic and resist these stimuli. And if something is so compelling that you just have to take a photo of it, simply stop and enjoy the scenery for more than a passing moment.

Tip 9: Both hands belong on the handle bars

To ensure that you are in control of your bicycle at all times, we recommend that you always keep both hands on the handle bars. You shouldn’t hold a camera or a phone in your hands when cycling (see tip 8).  

Tip 10: Cycling at twilight or after dark

Ensure that you always have functioning lights on your bike: you should never cycle during twilight hours and after dark without lights. It is also advisable to wear bright or even reflective clothing or accessories so that drivers can see you better.  

Tip 11: Bags on bikes

Bags belong on the luggage rack or in the basket, not on the handle bars. This is the only way to ensure that you are cycling without the risk of wobbling. Please secure your bags well so they don’t slide off.

Tip 12: Parking your bike

When you park your bike the following applies: Please don’t block any paths or entrances, or of course any sightseeing places either.

Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) in Berlin-Mitte
Berlin Cathedral © iStock.com/Andrey Artykov

Tip 13: No alcohol when cycling

In the same way that you wouldn’t drive while drunk, the famous Berlin habit of taking a beer to go has no place on a bicycle. Alcohol and bicycles don’t go together.

Tip 14: When you are cycling as a group

Sightseeing by bike is particularly fun in a group. There are just a few things to note in particular, to ensure that you do not obstruct other road users. Please make sure that you do not block the way of other cyclists. Always cycle single file and never two abreast. And: you must also observe red lights as a group – even if not everyone in your group has crossed over the intersection yet.

Tip 15: Show consideration

The last tip that we would like to give you before you set out is almost a matter of course: Always show consideration and be friendly to other cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

And now: We wish you a safe journey and have fun cycling through Berlin.