Use flashers on bicycles and e-scooters
January 18, 2024
If you want to travel safely and, above all, legally with your micromobile, you have to pay attention to a few details. Since no uniform road traffic regulations (StVO) apply across Europe and the rules regarding vehicles permitted on the road are not the same everywhere, confusion can quickly arise.
So that you are informed about “Flasher” , we will give you the most important information about using Flasher in Austria, Germany and Switzerland .
You will also find out why you are allowed to use flashers on bicycles and e-scooters according to the StVZO and StVO.
This applies in Austria
The legal regulations for cycling in Austria concern two areas: on the one hand, the question of which equipment must be used, and on the other hand, which rules of conduct apply on the road. The Bicycle Ordinance specifies the equipment of bicycles, the StVO contains information about the equipment of e-scooters. The StVO also contains the rules that cyclists must follow. Users of e-scooters, including small e-scooters or e-scooters, are subject to the same rules of conduct as cyclists.
Are flashers allowed on bicycles and e-scooters in Austria?
In Austria, according to the bicycle regulations , there are a number of devices that must be present on the bicycle, for example
- Bell or horn.
You can immediately see that the bicycle regulations do not contain any rules that contradict the use of flashers as indicators on bicycles and e-scooters . Anyone who uses flashers is therefore well equipped within the framework of the bicycle regulations.
The regulation itself also states that a headlight and a taillight must be used when visibility is poor . As soon as visibility is poor, lighting - in addition to the mandatory reflectors - is necessary. Reflectors only work when you are already being illuminated by another vehicle , which is often simply too late for dark conditions.
Exactly the same applies to flashers: active lighting can be seen from a distance and is an even better safety measure than passive lighting.
Does Flasher replace the hand signal in Austria?
On the one hand, the right equipment must be used when cycling and e-scooter riding. Here we have already established that flashers are definitely permitted and, as active lighting, increase visibility, just like a headlight.
On the other hand, when driving you also have to follow the correct traffic rules. Section 11 of the StVO contains rules for turning that apply to all vehicles, including bicycles. Section 68 StVO contains additional provisions regarding bicycle traffic. These standards also apply to e-scooters, which is stated in Section 88b StVO.
The rules for turning according to the StVO are in Section 11. The most important information is that indicators in general and flashers are absolutely not excluded in the bicycle regulations . This means that Flasher can be used confidently.
Section 11 Paragraph 3 of the StVO states that a change in direction of travel or a change in lane must be reported using the devices installed on the vehicle for this purpose. If such devices are not available or are malfunctioning, the notification must be made using clearly recognizable hand signals . However, if these signs are not recognizable due to the nature of the vehicle or its load, they must be given using a signal pole. On the one hand, it is not completely clear what a hand signal represents. The flasher elbow gesture and the subsequent bright and clear flashing are clearly recognizable.
Regardless, you can definitely activate Flasher and then extend your arm to the side. This means that you definitely fall under the instructions of the StVO.
You should also note Section 68 of the StVO, which contains special rules for bicycles. Driving hands-free is prohibited, which makes perfect sense. After all, you are much more at risk of falling when you are hands-free and are not prepared to brake. In our opinion, this also applies to driving one-handed while giving the hand signal.
In addition, you are not allowed to take your feet off the pedals. A foot sign is definitely not permitted. It almost seems as if the legislator were of the opinion that it can be risky to remove your limbs from the vehicle while driving.
The regulations in Germany
The question often arises as to whether Flasher can be used in Germany. The StVZO and the StVO contain rules that cyclists must observe. There is also the eKFV, which contains special regulations for e-scooters. Flasher may be used in compliance with all of these laws.
Is Flasher subject to the StVZO?
The Road Traffic Licensing Regulations ( StVZO ), as the name suggests, contain regulations regarding the registration of vehicles. The law contains regulations that apply to vehicles in general (§§ 49a ff) as well as special regulations for micromobiles (§§ 66a - 67a). The Small Electric Vehicles Ordinance, which applies to e-scooters, for example, refers, among other things, to the StVZO standards for lighting bicycles with regard to approval.
Section 67 StVZO contains, among other things, rules about direction indicators that are attached to the vehicle. Strictly speaking, the law speaks of “direction indicators” approved in accordance with Regulation No. 50 […] and installed in accordance with Regulation No. 50 […]. Since Flasher is worn on the body, these rules do not apply to our bangles. Of course, we still made sure to follow the StVZO instructions as much as possible.
The eKFV states that e-scooter lighting must also comply with the rules for bicycles. In addition, the law specifically states that the lighting may also be removable. This doesn't change anything for flashers: Since flashers do not fall within the scope of the StVZO, the eKFV is not an obstacle either. The fact that you can remove the lights is at most an additional indication that flashers are allowed. In addition, Section 5 eKFV again deals with lighting that is mounted on the e-scooter and is therefore not applicable to flashers. However, the fact that the legislature explicitly allows direction indicators to be attached to e-scooters can be understood to mean that the legislature is aware of the problem of hand signals and, in the newer laws, is already taking better account of the fact that micromobiles also need indicators.
What rules does the StVO in Germany contain regarding flashers? Is flasher considered a hand signal in Germany?
The StVO contains the rules for behavior in road traffic. If you look at Section 9 of the StVO, which regulates turning, turning and reversing, you quickly see that the law requires: Anyone who wants to turn must announce this in a timely and clear manner. If a vehicle has turn signals, it must use them. Here too, the legislator sees that indicators make sense and are probably easier to recognize than an unlit gesture. In short, this means that there is no obligation for cyclists to give hand signals , only to announce the turn in a timely and clear manner .
This is also confirmed by Roland Huhn, traffic law expert at the ADFC ( https://web.de/magazine/auto/handzeichen-fahrradfahrer-verpflichtend-recht-strassenverkehr-36096034 ).
§ 11 eKFV is - like the StVO in Austria - a little unclear. On the one hand, this paragraph states that hands-free riding on an e-scooter is prohibited. That makes sense, after all, it makes you extremely unsafe and unstable and there is an acute risk of falling. A few lines below, the law requires that on e-scooters that do not have installed direction indicators, you must announce the change of direction in a timely and clear manner using hand signals before turning. The law does not say what a hand signal is. What is clear, however, is that the flasher elbow gesture and the bright, conspicuous flashing are clear signs. Here, too, it is not entirely clear why the legislature recognizes that driving hands-free is unstable and dangerous, but does not recognize that this also applies to driving one-handed when turning.
Can I use Flasher in Switzerland?
Bicycles in Switzerland must comply with the provisions of Articles 213-218 VTS. Art 216 VTS contains rules for lighting, paragraph 4 says more about directional indicators. These are explicitly permitted and must be attached symmetrically in pairs. Since Flasher is a set of two bracelets that are placed symmetrically on the upper arms, they correspond exactly to this provision .
By the way, according to VTS, the direction indicators must be yellow, which applies to Flasher. Taillights and brake lights must be red; forward-facing lights must be white or light yellow. Flasher naturally fulfills all of these colors in day and night mode.
Is Flasher considered a turning signal in Switzerland?
Art 28 (VRV) contains everything about signaling, although these rules also apply to cyclists.
The vehicle drivers must announce all changes of direction, including turning to the right. Even the cyclist who swerves to overtake another person has to report this. Signaling must be stopped immediately after the change of direction. Cyclists can stop signaling while changing direction.
Regarding Flasher, the following is important: If a vehicle does not have direction indicators or they are not effective, the driver or a passenger points with his arm in the direction to be taken. If this is not possible, he or she must turn away particularly carefully. This Art. 28 Paragraph 3 VRV contains exactly the crux of the matter: If the bicycle itself is not equipped with a directional indicator, the rider must: indicate the turning direction with his arm. So if you swing your elbow outwards with Flasher, the turning direction is shown twice with your arm: first by the movement, then by the bright, yellow light.
Yes, Flasher is permitted as a turn signal in Austria, Germany and Switzerland
Flasher can be used in Austria. When you turn, you simply activate Flasher's turn signal and then use Flasher for the hand signal. Be aware of the increased risk of falling if you take your hand off the handlebars when making a hand signal.
In Germany, Flasher can be used on bicycles and e-scooters in accordance with the StVZO. Before turning, activate Flasher to announce the turn with a clearly visible sign. The 360° lighting helps you be seen equally by following traffic and oncoming traffic. On the bike you don't have to take your hand off the handlebars, you can simply let Flasher do the work for you.
When using an e-scooter, pay particular attention to stability when turning when you take your hand off the handlebars to give the hand signal.
Use Flasher in Switzerland as a reliable and visible direction indicator. Swing the arm outward to activate the turn signal and indicate the turn direction.
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