Reform of the road traffic regulations brings important innovations for cargo bikes
Cargo bikes are conquering their place in the mobility mix. Whether in the private sector for transporting children and weekly shopping or with transport companies as an environmentally friendly alternative on the much-cited last mile. Despite the sharp increase in the number of load wheels, the German Road Traffic Regulations (StVO) has so far contributed little to the boom. However, this is now to change.
In February 2020, the German federal states in the Bundesrat (upper house of parliament) agreed to the federal government’s proposal for a reform of the StVO to make it “more bicycle-friendly” – with extensive changes that are particularly relevant for cargo bikes. The most important changes, also for the Bio‑Hybrid: a separate symbol for cargo bikes and the abolition of the age limit for passenger transport. Also important: there is still no parking ban at the roadside. There our thumb goes clearly up.
Own symbol for cargo bikes
Forecasts predict that up to 22.6 percent of commercial traffic could be shifted from motor vehicle transport to emission-free cargo bikes (more here). The designation of special loading zones or larger parking areas for cargo bikes is only one important step in this direction. A new, uniform symbol has been defined for clear marking. Pioneer Berlin had already set up the first ground markings and signs for cargo bike parking areas since the end of 2019. However, these do not only apply to delivery traffic and the associated transport of goods, but explicitly also to cargo bikes used for transporting people.
No age limit for passenger transport
The reform includes a clarification of the previously controversial permission to transport people – including those over 16 years of age. This means that persons of at least 16 years of age may only carry others on bicycles if the bicycles are built and equipped for passenger transport. A requirement that is met by the passenger version of the Bio‑Hybrid.
No parking prohibition at the edge of the road
The federal states have now taken into account the request of the German Bicycle Logistics Association (RLVD) to remove the ban on bicycle parking at the edge of the road from the federal government’s draft. Parking at the edge of the road will continue to be allowed for all bicycles and sidewalks can be kept free.
Right turn arrow for bicycles, traffic signs for cycle paths and cycle zones
In addition to the changes for cargo bikes, the new road traffic regulations contain other important reforms for cycling.
A green turn-off arrow for cycle lanes and cycle paths is to be implemented, which in future will also allow cyclists who have previously stopped to turn right despite red traffic lights.
Another new traffic sign, the “Radschnellweg” (fast cycle lane) has also been included in the road traffic regulations. This sign marks wide cycle lanes, largely separated from motor traffic, which are intended to enable cyclists to make rapid and safe progress over long distances.
In addition, the “bicycle zone” traffic sign was introduced, which, with a maximum speed of 30km/h, is similar to the conventional “30 zones”. Under these “bicycle zones”, larger areas are to be set up in the future according to the rules of bicycle roads. In these zones, bicycle traffic is allowed absolute priority and must not be endangered or hindered.
The new German Road Traffic Regulations contains important reforms for cycling, including new traffic signs
A step in the right direction
We see the amendment as a step in the right direction. Even if the innovations that have been decided on still leave some room for improvement, they are nevertheless a first important signal for realizing the vision of green cities of tomorrow.