Greater peace of mind on the roads

Aug 3, 2023.

From car drivers to cyclists, e-scooter users and pedestrians, our streets are shared by a wide variety of road users. On average, five people lose their lives on Switzerland’s roads each week. If everyone followed the rules that applied to their vehicle, accidents and disputes could be avoided. These are the key rights and obligations.

On the road: your rights and obligations

Switzerland’s streets are home to a wide variety of road users. Around 4.7 million passenger cars are registered in Switzerland (as of 2022). This number is growing with every year that passes. There are also hundreds of thousands of motorcycles, bicycles, e-bikes and trendy methods of transport such as e-scooters. Not to mention all the pedestrians.


Being safe on the roads requires not only tolerance and consideration, but also rules. The driving theory test teaches the most important rights and obligations for car drivers and motorcyclists. But the rules that apply to other ways of getting around are unclear to many.



Electric or regular bicycles: you need to know these rules


According to Velosuisse, almost one in two bicycles sold in Switzerland is an e-bike. At the end of 2022, muscle-powered bicycles represented 55% of the Swiss market, with electric bicycles making up the remaining 45%. In general, e-bikes are used more often than “normal” bicycles, with riders travelling much longer distances as a result.


Electric bicycles can be divided into two categories: slow ones can travel a maximum of 25 km/h, while fast ones can get up to 45 km/h (each speed includes pedal assistance). The latter are classed as mopeds (Category M, motorbikes): they require a licence plate and an e-bike sticker, and helmets are mandatory.

  • Anyone wishing to ride an electric bicycle – fast or slow – must be at least 14 years old. Children under 16 must also have a moped licence. And for fast e-bikes, people over 16 must have at least a moped licence.
  • Fixed bike lights are compulsory for all electric bicycles: white at the front and red at the rear. Since 2022, the lights must also be switched on during the day.
  • It is also mandatory for electric bicycles to have a red reflector on the back and a bell.
  • Helmets are not required for electric bicycles up to 25 km/h or for regular bicycles, but they are recommended.
  • Bicycles, e-bikes and mopeds may turn right on a red light if there is an additional signal at the traffic lights indicating this (yellow bicycle and arrow).
  • Children aged six and over may ride conventional bicycles on a main road, but they must be supervised by a person aged 16 or over.
  • Children under the age of 12 may cycle on the pavement – but only if there are no bike lanes. Pedestrians always have the right of way.



E-scooters: what applies to these popular, trendy vehicles


The same rules as for bicycles apply to e-scooters that are approved for use on the road. In other words, they should be used in the cycle lane. If there are no bike lanes, you can ride your e-scooter on the right-hand edge of the road. You are only permitted to use them on the pavement if this is also allowed for bicycles – i.e. in very rare cases. Also good to know:

  • Not all e-scooters are approved for use on the road. Be sure to check this before buying one.
  • Anyone wishing to ride an e-scooter must be at least 14 years old and have a moped licence.
  • The maximum speed is 20 km/h (or 25 km/h with pedal assistance).
  • Helmets are not mandatory, but they are recommended.
  • The electric scooter’s lights must always be on, even during the day.
  • Accidents involving an e-scooter are normally covered by personal liability insurance, as with bikes.



Pedestrians: lots of rights, but also a few obligations


Getting from A to B on foot makes you one of the most vulnerable road users. You have right of way on pedestrian crossings, as well as on pavements and footpaths that are marked with a blue sign. As a pedestrian, you should also bear the following in mind:

  • If you cross the road when the lights are red, you risk a fine of CHF 20.
  • Although you have right of way at pedestrian crossings, you are nevertheless not permitted to step onto a crossing unexpectedly.
  • In shared-use zones (maximum speed 20 km/h), you always have the right of way over everyone else.
  • In 30 km/h zones, you can cross the road anywhere, but you have no right of way.
  • If there is no pavement and you have to walk in the road, always keep to the left edge of the road. This is especially true outside towns at night.


Fortuna Legal Protection Insurance – a subsidiary of Generali Switzerland – has been helping customers to access justice for 50 years. During this time, it has grown significantly and now applies the expertise and experience of over 100 employees in 31 branches of law.