Cycling in Hungary
Get on your bike and enjoy the sun, but be aware of traffic rules
Winter is finally gone and now is the time to start enjoying the warm weather and outdoor pursuits. For cycling enthusiasts, the season has just started. Riding a bicycle for many is not just a means of transportation, but rather a way of life, of good exercise and a chance to enjoy the urban or rural environment. A bicycle will not only take you to wherever you want to go, but it will transport you past the morning jam and keep you fit whilst doing so.
If you live in Hungary and love cycling, there is a range of options for beginners and enthusiasts alike. It is estimated that Hungary has more than 2,000 kilometres of roads on which cycling is allowed, including both recreational tour routes and commute-busting cycle paths. Before taking a bike tour in Hungary, make sure you have a map specifically designed for use by cyclists. The Hungary Cycling Association aims to help bikers by publishing maps showing all the major cycling roads.
Before getting on your bike, make sure you are aware of cycling traffic rules in Hungary. We have prepared an overview of those rules to help you have an enjoyable, safe Hungarian cycling experience:
- As a rule, no cycling is allowed on sidewalks by those older than 12. Also, cycling on motorways and roads for motorized vehicles is not allowed. Cycling is allowed on bike roads, open bike roads and bike lanes. Some of the bike roads can also be used by other vehicles but only when parking or turning. You can also ride your bicycle in the bus lane or walkway, but only if there is a sign allowing you to do so.
- The speed limit for cyclists outside of populated areas is 50 km/h if you are wearing a helmet and 40km/h for those without a helmet. In cities or any other inhabited area, you can cycle up to the speed limit of 30km/h on marked bike roads and 20 km/h if you share a walkway with pedestrians.
- Cyclists are allowed to overtake cars, just be sure you can squeeze between them. Also, remember that in Hungary you should always give priority to those approaching from the right, unless otherwise signalized by traffic police, traffic sign or traffic light.
- In some one-way streets, there are signs allowing cycling in the opposite direction. Even with the sign, be very cautious of other vehicles.
Budapest has around 170 kilometers of cycling pathways, including tour routes, cycling lanes and side streets where cycling is allowed. City authorities plan to increase the length of cycling pathways to 300 kilometers by 2015.
If you wish to explore Budapest on a bike, the best place to start is on Margaret Island with its long and wide paths for cyclists. Also, the bike lane along Nagytétényi út will take you all the way up to Nagytétényi Castle. Or you can cycle up in the Buda Hills, using the Cogwheel Railway to save you the worst of the uphill parts.
Most towns and villages in Hungary have good cycling paths within their environs, so there is a range of choice for great cycling experience this season.
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