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In our daily work as we deal with bicycle safety, technology and user manuals we come across lots of safety risks. The most frequent ones are published in articles of the leading German special-interest magazines TOUR – Europas Rennrad-Magazin Nr. 1, BIKE – Das Mountainbike Magazin Europas Nr. 1 and E-Bike – Das Pedelec-Magazin to make this information important for the sector accessible to a wider public.

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MYBIKE 01/2022
Reading time 1:10 minutes

Indicator on the e-bike

Letter of a reader:
As a subscriber to your magazine, I look forward to every issue of MYBlKE and only put it down after immediately studying it in its entirety. As an all-season e-bike rider, I have noticed in the dark season that an indicator system (like every moped/motor scooter has) would be an enormous gain in safety and, above all, would leave me with the option of having both hands on the handlebars and the brakes. Especially in wet conditions, it is often a balancing act to give hand signals with one hand and apply the brake with the other one. I think an indicator system (I run my headlamp and rear light on 12 volts) would be a very useful addition throughout the year. Is an indicator system on e-bikes approved?

Thank you for your interest in MYBIKE and the interesting question. To be sure and to be able to give you a legally watertight answer, we made inquiries at the German Cycle Association (ADFC) and asked bicycle expert Dirk Zedler. There is agreement by both experts: Indicator systems on single-track bicycles or e-bikes are not permitted. This results from the lighting regulations for bicycles of the German Road Vehicles Registration and Licensing Regulations (StVZO). There it is stipulated (translation):

“Forward and rearward facing direction indicators are only permitted on multi-track bicycles or those with a superstructure that completely or partially obscures the rider's hand signals (§ 67 Abs. 5 StVZ0). Roland Huhn, traffic law expert at the German Cycle Association (ADFC): “Indicators are thus only permitted on multi-track e-bikes and on e-bikes with superstructure (e.g. cabin recumbent bikes).”

Dirk Zedler, Zedler Institut für Fahrradtechnik und -Sicherheit GmbH states in addition: “The indicator issue is not a trivial one. Cargo or family e-bikes alone with, for example, three wheels or bicycles with a superstructure, e.g. cycle rickshaws, may be equipped with indicators. On bicycle trailers, however, indicators are permitted in general. Flashing lights on the helmet, the body or the rucksack are also permitted, but of course do not replace the obligatory hand signal.” I am personally of the opinion that indicators would increase safety when turning. The cyclist's intention would be clearly visible and both hands could remain on the handlebars. An uninterruptible power supply for the indicator system should neither be an issue with e-bikes.

Author: Uli Frieß, test editor MYBIKE