‘No Bikes in the Pool’: Plus 12 Other Bizarre Cycling Rules Around the World

a bicycle seen underwater in a pool

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Imagine pedaling down the street, wind in your hair, and the freedom of the open road ahead. Sounds pretty sweet, right? But wait. Do you know that around the world, there are some downright wacky rules that could put the brakes on your cycling vibe?

I’m not talking about wearing helmets or staying off the sidewalk. How about a law preventing you from cycling in a pool and another that forces you to keep your shirt on? Oh, and that’s only the start.

Let’s take a trip around the globe and navigate the quirky, bizarre, and sometimes mind-boggling cycling rules that exist.

Cycling with an umbrella

1. Japan – No Umbrellas While Riding

You’re biking in Japan, and it starts pouring. You might think, “Cool, I’ll just pop open my umbrella and keep going.” Nope, not allowed. Japan says you’ve got to wear a raincoat instead. Why? Because holding an umbrella makes it super hard to steer and brake, especially when you’re weaving through those crowded streets. It’s all about keeping you from crashing into someone or something.

2. Germany – Drunk Cycling Penalties

Germany takes biking pretty seriously, especially if you’ve had a few. If you’re caught biking drunk (and by drunk, we mean a blood alcohol level of 0.16% or more), you could even lose your driver’s license. Yeah, you heard that right. It’s not just about cars; bikes can cause accidents, too, if you’re not careful.

3. Netherlands – No Mobile Phones Without Hands-Free Devices

The Netherlands is like bike heaven, but they’re strict about phone use on the go. Texting or calling while biking? Forget about it unless you’ve got a hands-free setup. This rule is here to stop you from zoning out and running into someone else. Stay alert, stay safe.

Law enforcement on a horse in london

4. United Kingdom United Kingdom – No Passing a Horse on the Left

If you’re biking and come across a horse in the UK, you better not try to sneak past it on the left. According to the UK’s highway code, horses can freak out pretty easily, and a spooked horse is dangerous. So, give them space, and always pass on the right, nice and slow, to avoid any horse drama.

5. South Australia – No Bikes in the Pool, Please

This one sounds kind of funny, but in South Australia, they actually had to make it a rule: no biking in swimming pools. It’s all about preventing some really weird accidents and keeping the pool from getting wrecked. Just keep your bike on the road where it belongs.

6. France – Carry a Breathalyzer

For a while, cyclists in France had to carry a breathalyzer. It sounds kind of weird, but the idea was to cut down on biking under the influence. Even though they’re not super strict about it for bikers, it’s like carrying a reminder not to be dumb and bike drunk.

Ringing a bicycle bell

7. Belgium – Bike Bells Must Be Heard

In Belgium, your bike has to have a bell, and not just any bell. It needs to be loud enough to hear from 20 meters away. But don’t even think about swapping it for a siren or horn; those are a big no-no. The goal? Let people know you’re coming without scaring the daylights out of them.

8. Missouri – A Flag on A Pole

Imagine biking with a flag towering 15 feet above you. In Missouri, they thought about making every cyclist feel like a parade float. Picture trying to bike under low-hanging branches or power lines. You’d be the most noticeable thing on the road, yes, but for all the wrong reasons. Maybe stick to bike lights and neon gear? The law was never passed.

9. Connecticut/London – Too Fast and Too Slow

Over in London, they’re putting the brakes on speedy cyclists, limiting them to a snail-paced 8 mph in some spots. That’s slower than my grandma on her morning walk. Meanwhile, Connecticut has a law against going over 65 mph on a bike. Who are they making laws for, The Flash? Most of us are just trying not to fall off when hitting a speed bump.

a shirtless tourist in thailand

10. Thailand – Keep Your Shirt On

Thailand decided shirts are a must when you’re on your bike, probably after seeing one too many sunburnt tourists turning their cycling tour into a topless parade. The fine for breaking this rule is pretty small, but the embarrassment of being called out might be worse than wearing a shirt drenched in sweat.

11. Dallas – No Biking Indoors

In Dallas, they’re really serious about not bringing bikes inside public buildings. Maybe they had one too many cyclists trying to ride through the library aisles or someone tried to park their bike inside a shopping mall? Whatever the reason, your bike will just have to brave the elements outside.

12. Australia and Colorado: No One-Handed Riding

Down Under and in the mountainous state of Colorado, they insist you keep at least one hand on the handlebars. It’s probably for the best, considering the number of things that could go wrong if you’re waving both hands in the air like you just don’t care… while on a bike.

13. Arizona – No Gargling While Biking

 The best for last. Arizona took a stand against mobile mouthwash sessions. Maybe they were concerned about cyclists spitting on the sidewalk or perhaps it was just too distracting. Either way, it’s probably best to finish your dental hygiene routine at home.

These rules might sound a bit out there, but each one’s got its reasons. Whether it’s keeping you safe, protecting others, or just making sure everyone gets along on the road, they’re all about making biking a better experience for everyone.

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