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Velostraßen (bicycle boulevards / bike paths)

Results of the pilot tests in Swiss cities

Pilotversuch Velostraßen Schweiz
Pilotversuch Velostraßen Schweiz © Metron Bern: Velostrasse Scheuchzerstrasse in Zürich, März 2017

Bicycle boulevards / bike paths - Results of pilot tests in Swiss cities

Different countries (D, A, B, NL) know so-called bicycle boulevards / bike paths. What they all have in common is a comfortable and safe cycle route away from the main roads. However, the rights and obligations involved are different. In Germany and Austria, other vehicles are only allowed to use these roads if this is expressly permitted. In Belgium, bicycles may not be overhauled on bicycle boulevards / bike paths, whereas in the Netherlands the signal has only an appeal character and no rights or obligations are associated with it.

Pilot tests on bicycle boulevards / bike paths (Velostrassen) have been carried out in various Swiss cities. The focus was on the fact that the bicycle boulevards / bike paths were allowed to precede the intersecting neighbourhood roads, thus enabling cyclists to travel quickly and safely. There were no other rights or obligations associated with the new "Velostraße" sign.

Pilot tests

ASTRA had approved a total of eight pilot routes in five cities:

  • Basel: St. Alban-Rheinweg; Mülhauserstraße
  • Bern: Erlach-/Freiestraße; Militär-/Beundenfeldstraße
  • Luzern: Taubenhaus-/Bruchstraße
  • St. Gallen: Lindenstraße
  • Zürich: Scheuchzerstraße; Affolternstraße

The project planning and implementation of the pilot tests was carried out by the cities. ASTRA (in English: Federal Roads Office FEDRO) was responsible for the evaluation concept, the evaluation of the results and the preparation of the final report.

The signalling was done with a new signal "Velostraße" and bicycle symbols on the roadway. In order for the bicycle boulevard / bike path to have the right of way, the streets leading into it were denied the right of way by means of the usual signals "stop" or "no right of way". The surveys took place between August 2016 and October 2017.

Results and further procedure
The report on the pilot test “Velostrassen” is available for download on the ASTRA Website (in German): Velostraßen – Bericht Auswertung
  • The results of the pilot tests do not provide clear information on the suitability of bicycle boulevards / bike paths. Neither a clear benefit could be determined, nor were there any indications of negative effects. The results also do not allow conclusive statements on the influence of bicycle boulevards / bike paths on traffic safety due to the low number of cases and the short running time. For a broad implementation of the Velostrassen, the regulation on 30 km/h zones would have to deviate from the principle of legal precedence (cf. article 4, paragraph 1: "A regulation deviating from legal precedence by means of signals is only permissible if traffic safety so requires"). This deviation represents a considerable interference in the existing traffic regime and must be carefully weighed, particularly in view of the high number of accidents involving bicycles.
  • ASTRA will discuss the results of the pilot tests and any deviation from the principle of legal precedence in the 30 km/h zones in detail with the specialist committees and associations concerned and, on this basis, decide on the further course of action. There are still no sufficiently consolidated votes to include the issue in the current revisions of the regulations.
  • The pilot routes may remain in operation until the final decision on the introduction of Velostrassen has been taken.