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My recent experience with new Google Maps shows that it constantly leads me against traffic on a one-way streets in Europe in general and in Poland (where I live) in particular.

Are there any laws or regulations for this?

I assume Google wouldn't set a track that would violate local laws. But, on the other hand, it seems quite unnatural for me to bike against traffic on a one-way street.

And recently I have found a typical one-way street with a typical one-way signs on both ends:

one way sign / no entry sign

And each sign was additionally labelled with a special label saying "Bikes excluded", which would suggest that biking against traffic on a one-way streets is strictly prohibited unless otherwise stated.

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    I would guess that Google is simply wrong. In the US it has been known to lead drivers into cornfields. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 20 '15 at 12:29
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    As the answers show, many streets in Europe which are one-way for cars are two-way for bicycles but your assumption is a very bad one! Always follow local regulations, no matter what Google Maps shows you. It even says "These directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, weather, or other events may cause conditions to differ from the map results, and you should plan your route accordingly. You must obey all signs or notices regarding your route." – Max Jul 20 '15 at 15:11
  • @Max Exactly which of my sentences is "my assumption that is very bad one"? Or exactly which sentence states (in your opinion) that I do not want to follow local regulations? I was more than sure that I wrote something completely opposite! To cite: "it seems quite unnatural for me to bike against traffic on a one-way street" and "which would suggest that biking against traffic on a one-way streets is strictly prohibited unless otherwise stated". – trejder Mar 21 at 12:15
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    Direct quote: "I assume Google wouldn't set a track that would violate local laws." – ojs Mar 21 at 16:03
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In Holland, were I assume cycling is much more common than in Poland, the kind of traffic sign you describe are abundant (see example, "uitgezonderd" is Dutch for "except for").

enter image description here

And cycling against traffic in a one-way street without the sign is indeed illegal. The same rules seem to apply in Poland, though I cannot find a reliable source for Polands cycling laws. As to why Google Maps suggests those routes remains a mystery, but it doesn't seem to happen only in Poland, see this link

  • Well... it is always good to ask! :> – trejder Jul 20 '15 at 12:42
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    About Polish law: isap.sejm.gov.pl/DetailsServlet?id=WDU20021701393 Chapter 2, art. 17.1 and 17.2 specify that unless modified by a separate sign (T-22) it is illegal to ride against the traffic direction. – Maurycy Jul 20 '15 at 14:39
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    Same here in Austria. But be extra careful when you ride against one-ways (where a sign allows it). Even though it’s legal most car drivers won’t expect it. Google probably just neglected to record the streets as a one-way (or it used to be two-way) or signs add an exception for cyclists. – Michael Jul 20 '15 at 15:04
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    Dangerous situation I have seen a few times: Cyclists coming out of such a one-way road "the wrong way" may still have right of way! Better not count on any other traffic participants to respect (or expect) that. – linac Jul 21 '15 at 8:43
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Just to add to FatHippos answer: The same applies to Germany. In my home town there was a survey of all one-way roads between 2004 and 2010, which resulted in most of them now being open for bikes in both directions.

These roads are also marked explicitly with a sign like the one you describe.

taken from www.freiburg.de/pb/,Lde/231548.html

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    As my driving instructor put it: "this sign indicates that here bicyclists are allowed to do what they always do". – Cephalopod Jul 21 '15 at 20:10
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There is also a Czech version of allowing you to bike 'the other direction'.

Czech version

Biking against the one way direction is not much of a crime here and where the traffic is low, it's usually tolerated.

I'd advise against biking the wrong direction in traffic heavy places like city centers, though, even when it's allowed. These signs (and corresponding regulation) is still a novelty here and you can get into some difficult situations in a narrow place with an overstressed truck driver or a distracted car driver used to this street being one way all his life.

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    I love that 'except bikes' sign, without words but very clear. And yes, I agree when there is no 'except bikes' sign, it is illegal to go counter flow in all European countries I know about (not all of the EU but more than the ones already mentioned.) And I also agree that you have to be very careful going against the flow in a one way street, even where drivers are used to it. – Willeke Jul 20 '15 at 16:11
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    In Luxembourg it's against the law to bike against the traffic in one way streets, except if stated otherwise by an additional sign. Using bus-lanes is permitted when the same additional sign is shown. pch.public.lu/fr/organisation/attributions-competences/… (# 2.5 and 2.6) – Carel Jul 20 '15 at 16:20
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    In Ireland, by contrast, so far as I know, bicycles are not permitted in contraflow bus lanes, @Carel. – TRiG Jul 20 '15 at 16:36
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    @Trig Interestingly, there are some 'contraflow' lines in the Czech Republic that allow both buses and bicycles but not other vehicles (mainly for regulation purposes - often to be seen around downtown squares and other regulated places). This can get very confusing for all participants, hence I recommend against riding anywhere near such streets. – Pavel Jul 20 '15 at 19:44
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    In France I have seen this one in some cities. – JinSnow Jul 21 '15 at 8:00
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In France, the sign was made explicit and a special contraflow lane was added. All roads where you can cycle against the flow on a one-way road is marked with this sign:

French cycling sign

This is a very common occurrence in cities where cycling is popular! See this wikipedia article for a bit more background, although the french version is more extensive.

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This sign is also common in france; it means no entry except for bicicles.
(source: fubicy.org)

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In UK it would not be allowed unless there was an additional sign stating otherwise. The same rules apply to all vehicles on the road. I don't think Google maps necessarily actually always accurately provide the best route. For example from my house it would better to get off the bicycle and cross the park on foot than cycle around the roads to get to the train station. Also, provided you have a free permit, you are allowed to cycle on waterway towpaths in the UK but Google map apps doesn't know that.

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    You do not need a permit to cycle on waterway towpaths in the UK. Source: Canal & River Trust, which owns them. – David Richerby Jul 21 '15 at 12:20
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    @DavidRicherby is correct, although you used to (I still have mine) until British Waterways ceased to exist in 2012. – Mark Pattison Jul 21 '15 at 12:35
  • OK - I am behind the times. I have a permit. – John Jul 22 '15 at 7:17

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