Speed limit for bicycle?

February 22, 2016

By Yuki Yamamoto

How fast should we cycle? Should we have speed limits to bicycles? A bicycle can be a killing machine, but what is the implication of strict rules? How can we find the right balance of making cycling a fast and easy mode of urban transportation and keeping it safe? Do cyclists actually follow the speed limit, or do they just ignore it, or do they even become rebellious? 

10km/h speed limit in Kosiče, Slovakia

In Amsterdam and Copenhagen, two of the world’s top cycling cities, average cycling speed is about 16km/h. On average. Maximum speed is higher than this. At 10km/h, any conflict seems to be avoidable. But is this what people want? Now you can skip certain red lights on a bike in Paris. Is more restriction a better solution, or will it just end in cyclists disrespecting rules?

10 km/h speed limit in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France
Burned speed camera in France

When you have a chance to come to Amsterdam, you will see what some people call “chaos”. But you will also see that cyclists look at each other, observing what others are doing and predicting their next move. People become more cautious in chaos. Do strict rules actually improve safety? What can we learn from the idea of shared space?