Cycling became an activity for billions of people to use for transportation, recreation and physical activity during the 19th century. During the late 19th century, it became part of the Olympics too. In Greece, the history of cycling began in 1896, when Athens’s first modern Olympics were held, and Greek cyclists won the road bicycle race. Since then, Greeks have used their bicycles to commute to work, college and universities. Eighty cycling clubs rent out bicycles to tourists and visitors in Greece. Greece is not only famous for its summer season, but its Mediterranean climate keeps it equally attractive for tourists in winter. In caldera near Santorini Island, an awe-inspiring cycling route gives an excellent opportunity for the cyclist to enjoy the route. Crete is famous for its longer cycling routes, where expert cyclists enjoy the longer routes. People from around the world come to Greece for cycling holidays. The most popular islands for cycling include Mykonos, Corfu, Paros, Rhodes, Skiathos, Kos and Zakynthos. Kos island is among the most popular islands for its flat cycling paths.
Athens has excellent cycling routes with easy, intermediate and difficult skill levels. In most routes, your fitness level should be good enough to enjoy your ride.
Thessaloniki is the second largest city after Athens and has a rich cultural history. This business hub of Greece has some most enjoyable cycling routes, attracting most tourists to this city. Only Thessaloniki has more than 150 cycling routes.
Get A Roadworthy Bike
As we claim that Greece is a tourist paradise, we do claim that Greece is cycling heaven.
It has more than 20,000 cycling routes to entertain its visitors. With designated routes throughout Greece specially built for cyclists, it also has unique cycling routes for island visits. For these notable routes, you should have a trustworthy bike to ride. Your bicycle should be equipped entirely with visible light at the back for a night-time ride. So, if you have to stop abruptly, people can see you from a distance. Following are the must-haves in your bicycle before you move on to the road.
A front and backlight for the help of the other riders in the dark and yourself too
A reflector at the front and on the back both
Quality breaks for front and back wheels
A cycle bell
Bicycle tyres with striped reflectors
Yellow reflectors on the cycle paddles
A special note: bicycle reflectors and good breaks are of crucial importance for the safety of the cyclist. So be cautious.
What Are The Rules Of Riding A Bicycle In Greece?
There are specific rules and regulations implemented by the Road Traffic Police Division that needs to be followed for the safety and security of the citizens. The essential rules and regulations followed in Greece are as follows:
Don’t Drink And Drive
Drinking while driving is not legally permitted in Greece. 0.05 per cent of the blood alcohol content will categorize you as legally drunk, equivalent to 2 drinks. If you, unfortunately, have an accident, you will be fined if drunk. It can cause hundreds of euros of fines if you are caught drunk. The driving fine in Greece varies from 200 euros to 1200 euros.
Two general alcohol limits that are relevant in Greece for driving are:
The legal blood alcohol limit is 50mg per 100ml of blood
The legal blood alcohol limit is 20mg per 100ml of blood for less than two years of driving experience
It is highly advised not to drink before you drive because it can result in dangerous outcomes.
Know Where To Ride Your Bike
Cyclists in Greece need to know about the lanes where they can ride their bicycles. They do not cause any danger to others, but they are undoubtedly vulnerable if they move in the same lane as motorized vehicles. So, cyclists must be vigilant and carefully observe the traffic rules to have safe, comfortable and risk-free rides. Here we will tell you what you need to know about cycling.
Use Dedicated Bike Lanes
Always try to use less congested and low-speed roads unless provided cycling infrastructure. The mandatory round blue sign with a white bicycle pictogram directs every cyclist to use that specific lane. It can be on the sidewalk or any street. If you are sharing a pedestrian pathway, maintain a safe distance from them and give them a clear way.
Never Cycle On The Sidewalk
Greek Road Traffic Police Division clearly states that cyclists have to be on the road unless mentioned. A cycle is one of the means of transportation, and you must ride it apart from the sidewalk. If you have to cycle on the sidewalk, pay special attention to older people, disabled or children. Take extra care when you get off/on from sidewalk, and ride your bicycle as straight as possible.
Never Cycle In Pedestrian Area
It is not allowed to use pedestrian areas by cyclists when they have their exclusive bikeways or cycling infrastructure. The Greek traffic police division specifies some shared paths for pedestrians and bicycles. These mandatory regulatory signs are background blue and white pictograms indicating segregated pedestrian and bicycle paths (P-65) and shared paths for pedestrians and cycles (P-66).
Never Cycle On Motorway
The speed limit on Greek motorways is 120 km per hour; with this, high-speed cyclists are not allowed to ride on motorways. It would be good if you never tried to enter any motorway as it can put you in danger. There is a clear sign where the motorway starts, so cyclists should avoid going there.
Cycling Along Countryside Roads
If you want to feel the natural beauty of Greece, cycling is the best option. Countryside roads usually have low traffic volume, and you can enjoy your ride with scenic beauty. Be careful to realize that you are sharing the road with other more oversized vehicles.
Never Cycle Against The Traffic Direction
Whenever you ride your bicycle, do it positively and decisively. Unstable or scared cycling or driving, whatever you do, may cause dangerous accidents. Try to cycle against the traffic direction only if notified by a traffic sign (cycling path for both directions).
How To Correctly Make Turns While Cycling In Greece
Either you are driving a car or riding a bicycle, rules must be followed to ensure the safety of the people. As we follow specific rules set by the concerned department for traffic control while driving a car or any motorized vehicle, we must follow the rules, too, while riding a bicycle. This will make sure the safety of all of us. Here you will get to know detailed turning rules while riding a bicycle.
Use Hand Signal Before Making A Turn
Cyclists should keep themselves to the right as much as possible. You indicate your planned turn beforehand whenever you have to turn, either right or left. If you have to turn right, you stretch your right arm, and if you turn left, you stretch your left arm straight. Whether you are riding on the shared pathway or separate routes for cyclists, it is essential that you help others by clearly giving them signals about your movement.
How To Correctly Turn Right On A Bike In Greece
You have to indicate your intentions to the rest of the road users. Hand signals alert the rest of the motorists or pedestrians to indicate your turn. You extend your right arm straight from the shoulder for the right turn. Correct your lane, then look for the pedestrian signal, if there is any, where you are turning. If their signal is green, let them go first, and then you take a right turn.
How To Correctly Turn Left On A Bike In Greece
There are usually two methods followed for a left turn, depending on the bike path:
Make A Left Turn On A Bike Path With Road Markings
Follow the markings if the road is properly marked for the left turn. The marking may guise you to move slightly to the right and stop at the cycling stops. If there are traffic signal lights, you follow your green light. Never try to turn on a red light, as it can cause significant accidents. If you do not stop at the red signal or stop sign, you will be fined 700 euros.
If the road is without any signal light, you observe traffic flow from the right and left sides and then make your turn.
Make A Left Turn With A Bike Path Without Road Markings
If the bike path is without any markings or signal, then you follow the simple rule, you just extend your left arm straight from the shoulder and show that you want to turn left soon.
In any case, the way has to carefully observe the pedestrian around you to maintain the safety of yourself and the rest of the people. Lastly, look over your left side to see if any car is coming from that way; if the road is clear, you can take your turn.
Respect Priority Signs & Rules
Respect for other people using or sharing the same road is very important. f you focus on yourself, it can prove fatal to anyone. At any intersection, the lane coming from the right always has the right first, so if your light is green, you still have to slow down your speed to observe other people’s behaviour.
General Cycling Conduct In Greece
After understanding the cycling paths (shared or separate) and making a safe right or left turn, we will discuss general cycling conduct in Greece. This is extremely important to maintain a safe distance from pedestrians and parked vehicles (danger of opening the doors by someone sitting inside). Other than these, there is some other general conduct that needs to be followed, and those are:
Follow Dedicated Bike Traffic Lights
Greece has some strict rules regarding bicycle reflectors and other equipment needed on the bicycle to ride on the road. Bicycles should have reflectors / fixed lights. There should be white or yellow reflectors on the front side of the cycle, whereas it is mandatory to have red reflectors on the back side of the bicycle. All the bicycle riders must have fully functioning breaks along with a working bell to indicate the rest of the people about their turns.
If you are on a cyclist’s path, there are traffic lights designated for bike traffic. You have to make sure that you obey those traffic lights. Be careful to obey those lights as pedestrians and other traffic are also using the same road. Follow those rules to avoid having to pay fines set by the traffic police department.
Cycle In Single File
If you are on a leisure trip with your family or friends and enjoy cycling, do remember to ride in a row and not adjacent to each other, as it disturbs the rest of the traffic.
Always Overtake From The Left
Do it from the left side when you need to overtake a cyclist. Similarly, sometimes cars or delivery vans are also parked on the bike path; cross them from the left side.
If you are planning to cross any pedestrian or cyclist from the right side, please refrain, as it can cause severe accidents for you or a third person.
If the bike path is with heavy traffic volume, you can always make use of your cycle bell to get the attention of the cyclists around.
Cycle With Both Hands On The Handlebar
It feels very cool if you ride a bicycle without holding the handlebar, but let me tell you, this is not at good or cool as it feels. It is hazardous if someone loses control; it can cause severe danger. You have to drink water or take out something to eat, park your bicycle first, and do whatever is needed.
Cycling In Greece With Headphones Is Allowed
Using or holding a mobile phone in hand during cycling is also unsafe. Either it would be best if you had a phone stand or use earplugs to answer calls.
The use of phones is strictly prohibited in Greece during driving; however, hands-free or earbuds are allowed during driving. So you do not miss any calls but, at the same time, keep yourself away from danger.
Only One Person Per Bike
Only one person is allowed on a bicycle unless you are riding double paddled bicycle or tandem. So you can ask anyone to sit on a cycle frame, or you may give a massive fine for the violation.
Children Need Special Child Seat Or Trailer
Many people in Greece use a cycle as one of their primary means of transportation; most of the Greeks also take their kids on bicycles. As there is only one person allowed on a bicycle, if you are carrying a child, you must add an extra seat to the bicycle. These types of bikes are very common and helpful for the people here. People going to work or for a leisure trip usually take advantage of this. Follow the traffic rules applied by Official Organizations and Government Bodies to avoid paying a huge fine.
How To Lock Your Bike In Greece
Cycling theft is not very common in Greece, but you must be cautious about your bicycle. You should buy a good quality lock for your bicycle so that if you park it somewhere, it’s all safe, and you go with complete peace of mind. For that purpose, first, you need to have a good quality cycle lock, and secondly, to keep your bicycle safe, you need to lock it with a light pole or a bike rack.
Get Bicycle Theft Insurance
We recommend getting it insured against any unforeseen situation if you recently bought a new cycle. Different bicycle insurance companies provide insurance against any theft, damage to the bike and even damage to a third party. These insurance companies provide complete coverage for bicycles, including damage caused to another person by your cycle.
Do You Need A Bicycle License In Greece?
You only need a driving licence to ride a traditional bicycle in Greece if you want to drive a motorized vehicle. To drive a motorized bike even, you need to have a licence. In 2021 new law has passed in Greece where a car-driving licence holder can run a 125cc motorbike. The new driving licence category B holder can ride a car and bike on the same licence if he has held a licence for six years with a driver for over 27 years.
Is It Compulsory To Wear A Helmet When Cycling In Greece?
It is always recommended to wear a helmet while you ride any two or three-wheel vehicle, although it is not mandatory to wear a helmet in Greece while riding a bicycle. It is always recommended to wear a complete cycling kit before you start your ride. If you are riding a motorized bike, it is mandatory to wear a helmet. You are straight away fined 350 euros if you are not wearing a helmet on a motorbike.
Rules For Motorized Bicycles (E-Bike And Mopeds) In Greece
You must have heard already that Greece, especially Athens, is famous for its beauty with Mediterranean weather. People love to visit this place for recreation as well. One of the top priorities of the residents and tourists is to visit it on bicycles or motorized bikes. Its climate makes it quite comfortable to ride around the whole of Greece on mopeds, bicycles and even bikes.
A moped has an electric motor with a maximum 250-watt motor. It is easy to ride a moped without even a licence, the use of a helmet, or even without a registration number. It would be best if you rode it on the cycle lane.
E-bikes are without pedal support or gas handle. They have an electric motor to run the e-bikes. A licence and helmet are needed to run e-bikes.
What To Do In Case Of An Accident?
In case you got an accident while cycling, you need to do the following:
Protect the evidence of the accident and help the injured people immediately
In case of serious injury, call 112 urgently, a toll-free number accessed throughout the country
112 is the emergency contact number; if there is any dispute about how an accident has occurred, call the police
Take a maximum number of pictures of the accident and the cars involved in the accident, and their licence plate
Clear the area if the damage is minor, so the traffic is moving with the flow
Take the contact numbers, addresses and names of any witnesses in case of need
File accident report immediately as the emergency contact number is open 24 / 7. This report is not for blaming anyone but to record the incident and collect necessary information about the car driver or cyclist from the evidence.
If you cause the accident, you have to immediately call your insurance agent so that he can proceed further for third-party damages. In case you get hurt by the other person, follow up with their insurance company so you will get the compensation.
If you get severely injured, you need to contact a lawyer for compensation.
It is essential to have personal liability insurance in Greece, mainly a cyclist, because it also caters to third-party insurance needs.
As a cyclist in Greece, you need to follow traffic rules whether you are driving a motor vehicle or riding a bicycle. You have to respect the pedestrian, too, as they sometimes share the same pathway. We hope you are well informed about all the rules and regulations set by the traffic police division and can sensibly behave while you are on the road.