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Cycling in Switzerland

Anyone wanting to cycle on roads in Switzerland must be of school age and be able to pedal with both feet while sat in the saddle. Cyclists also have to abide by the general road traffic regulations.

Bike insurance sticker

The vignette (insurance sticker) for bicycles was phased out at the beginning of 2012. Cover against damage caused to third parties in an accident involving a bicycle can be provided by your personal liability insurance. If you ride a pedal-assisted e-bike with a speed of over 25 km/h, you need a motor-assisted bicycle registration plate and an annually-renewable vignette (read how to get one below).

Most insurance companies automatically include cover for cycling accidents in personal liability insurance. You should ask your insurer to be sure you have this cover. If you do not have liability insurance you are no longer insured if you cause damage to third parties in a cycling accident.

Accident victims receive compensation from the Swiss National Guarantee Fund (https://www.nbi-ngf.ch/en/ngf). The fund may claim part or all of the amount paid from the perpetrator of the accident. So it is worth having insurance cover for cycling accidents.

Rules for e-bikes/electric bikes

There are two types of electric bike: slow (assisted pedalling up to 25km/h) and fast (assisted pedalling up to 45km/h).

  • The minimum age for riding an electric bike is 14.
  • Cyclists aged 16 and above may ride a slow e-bike without any form of licence. They may also be ridden by young people aged 14 or 15 who hold a category M driving licence (for motorised bicycles).
  • A driving licence (at least category M) is required to ride a fast e-bike.
  • E-bikes must use cycle lanes.
    Slow e-bikes (up to 25km/h) are allowed to use roads signposted “no motorised bicycles”. Fast e-bikes can only use these roads with their motor switched off.
  • Fast e-bikes still need a number plate and vignette. (Get these from your canton’s road traffic office if they are not supplied directly by the shop that sold you your bike).
  • A cycle helmet should be worn. It is compulsory to wear a helmet when riding a fast e-bike.

Cycling equipment

The Swiss Council for Accident Prevention provides brochures on equipment you need to ride a bike, mountain bike or e-bike.