Biking in the City - Munich
July • 4th, 2020
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? In this article we focus on bicycle, a much loved means of transportation in Munich. As as newcomer it might feel a little daunting to hop on your bike in Munich 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!
Is Munich bike friendly?
Yes! There are many bike lanes all throughout the city. Munich has invested a lot into becoming bike friendly. And that is why the people of Munich 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”).
1. Traffic Lights in Munich
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 in Munich
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.)
Cyclist are allowed to ride side by side unless this poses dangerous situations. The maximum speedlimit on these bike lanes is 20 km per hour.
Children under the age of 8 must use the side walk and are not allowed to use the bike lanes. Just to be sure, adults are not allowed to cycle on the side walk, unless they accompany a child under the age of 8. And even then they have to be extra careful not to get into an accident with a pedestrian as they can then be held (partly) accountable.
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.
Other important cycling rules in Munich to keep in mind
Drinking and biking
If you are caught with 1.6 promille of alcohol in your blood while on a bicycle you can lose your driving license. However when you are in an accident with 0.3 promille in your blood you will also get a fine.
Using your mobile while biking
It is not allowed to use your smartphone, tablet or navigation device while cycling. Handsfree is allowed unless it is not too loud, meaning you can still hear other traffic. This can be with in-ear or headphones.
Cyclist can cross pedestrian crossings but don't have priority. Priority is only for pedestrians and people in a wheelchair.
If you don't have a bike and/or prefer to move around town on four wheels check out our Travel & Mobility sections for an overview of expat-friendly providers.