Cycling in Germany? These are the fines you should know about

Many more people are taking up cycling due to the coronavirus pandemic. So it's a good time to get to know the rules of the road when you're on bike.

Cycling in Germany? These are the fines you should know about
Cyclists on a pop-up bicycle lane in Hamburg in June 2020. Photo: DPA

The number of people getting on their bike – or even buying a new one – has been increasing due to the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

As public transport was scaled back or people were encouraged not to take it, cycling became one of the best options for getting around – in Germany and beyond.

Before you get on a bike you should be familiar with the rules of the roads. However, sometimes it's hard to keep up with or know which fines you can be issued with for breaking the rules.

Here's a rundown of the fines that can be imposed to cyclists if they break rules. They are part of The Road Traffic Regulations (StVO) which apply to all road users.

Cyclists can also be issued with points on their driving licence if the offence is serious, reports Germany's biggest motoring association, the ADAC. Note that fines can be increased if the offence causes danger to other road or pavement users.

READ ALSO: Driving license fines: What are the offences which can cost you points on your license?

Here's a list of some infringements, fines and possible points that can be issued as of June 2020:

Running a red light – between €60-€180  (depending on severity) / plus points on licence.

Preventing pedestrians from using a zebra crossing – €80 / one point on licence.

Cycling on the pavement – €25 (can be increased).

Cycling side by side with another person and causing problems for other road users €20.

Use of a mobile phone without hands-free kit – €55.

Using the signposted cycle path in the wrong direction – €20 (can be increased if someone else is endangered).

Parking on the sidewalk and hindering someone: €70 / one point.

Hands-free cycling – €5.

Brakes or bell not present, or not working – €15.

Bike light not available or broken – €20.

READ ALSO: Here's what's changing for drivers and cyclists in Germany

Lighting not used despite it being dark or poor visibility, or the light is covered/dirty – €20.

Carrying a child without a mandatory safety device €5.

Carrying one person (older than seven-years-old) on a bicycle that has only one seat, or in a trailer – €5.

Disregard of a police instruction – €25.  

Limited hearing through using headphones or similar – €15.

Marked cycle path not used – €20.

Some other common questions about cycling in Germany

Is there a legal helmet requirement for cyclists?

No. But a helmet is recommended for cyclists. If cycling is practiced as a sport, then the cyclist is jointly liable in the event of an accident if he or she is not wearing a helmet, even if he or she is not otherwise at fault.

Can I use headphones while riding?

Yes, as long as you don't listen to music too loudly so that you can't hear traffic.

What are the rules at a pedestrian crossing?

Priority applies exclusively to pedestrians and wheelchair users. Therefore, a cyclist must stop and allow people to cross or dismount and push the bike over the zebra crossing if using it.

Are cyclists allowed to ride in a one-way street against the direction of travel?

Cyclists are only allowed to cycle in the opposite direction in one-way streets as an exception if the prohibition of entry is supplemented by the additional sign that says “Radverkehr frei” (free movement of bicycles).

May I ride next to another cyclist?

Cyclists are allowed to ride next to each other if this does not interfere with traffic.

Can I take my dog with me on a lead while riding my bike?

Yes, as long as it is safe and the dog's well-being must always be taken into account. Well-trained dogs do not have to be kept on a leash as long as they respond to instructions.

Member comments

  1. Hmmm. If the Authoriries want to clean up with fines. just come to my Neighbourhood! Wrong way cycling, cycling on the Pavement, cycling side by side – it all goes on here!

  2. Blinking lights? Someone else on a bike stopped me the other day to say my lights were possibly gonna get me a fine, he was trying to be helpful I mean.

    I have See Sense Icon2 lights, designed for daylight visibility. Searching for the accuracy of this was.. Not easy. Anyone?

  3. Does my road bike need lights attached when cycling during the day? It sounds like it from this article.

  4. @Dead Weezel you can’t have blinking lights. I don’t recall exactly how your lights work but for them to be legal I think they also have to be marked as compliant with StVO or an equivalent standard. That said I have never heard of anyone actually fined as long as they were easily visible. Of course there is a first time for everything…
    @Alex no you don’t have to have the lights attached during the day (unless visibility is poor for some other reason).

    If you want to check for yourselves it’s StVZO §67 (plus many other technical rules IIUC).

    While Germany isn’t a terrible place for cycling, a number of its bicycle related laws are not great. Some date back to…previous regimes…who were more concerned about keeping bikes from slowing down cars. Some of the technical rules seem to be in need of updates for the modern world. It’s getting better though.

  5. @Andrew thanks for the info. Truly annoying though, lights designed not to dazzle yet be seen in daylight for safety.

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Young activists take German states to court over climate inaction

Campaigners began a legal challenge against five German regions on Monday to force them to take stronger action on climate change, emboldened by a landmark recent court ruling in favour of environmental protection.

Young activists take German states to court over climate inaction
Demonstrators from the Fridays for Future movement protest in Gießen, Hesse, with a sign saying "No wishy-washy, no climate lashing". Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

The plaintiffs are basing their case on a sensational verdict by Germany’s constitutional court in April which found that Germany’s plans to curb CO2 emissions were insufficient to meet the targets of the Paris climate agreement and placed an unfair burden on future generations.

In a major win for activists, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s federal government then brought forward its date for carbon neutrality by five years to 2045, and raised its 2030 target for greenhouse gas reductions.


On Monday, 16 children and young adults began proceedings against the regions of Hesse, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saarland, with support of environmental NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH).

They are charging that none of the states targeted by the legal action have passed sufficiently strong climate legislation at the local level, according to DUH.

“The federal government can’t succeed on its own,” lead lawyer Remo Klinger said in a press conference, highlighting state competence in the area of transport.

DUH worked closely together with the youth climate movement Fridays For Future to find activists willing to front the challenges, the group said.

Seventeen-year-old plaintiff Alena Hochstadt said the western state of Hesse, known for its Frankfurt banking hub, had always been her home but she feared having “no future here”.

Concern about the risk of “floods, storms and droughts” led her and other campaigners to seek “a legal basis for binding climate protection”.

READ ALSO: Climate change made German floods ‘more likely and more intense’

Hesse’s ministers for climate and the economy said they were “surprised” by the announcement.

“DUH clearly has not yet understood that we in Hesse are well ahead,” Priska Hinz and Tarek Al-Wazir said in a joint statement, drawing attention to an energy future law from 2012, before the Paris climate agreement.

In July, DUH-supported activists took the states of Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg to court on similar grounds.