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How dangerous it is to cycle on East Europe?

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How dangerous it is to cycle on East Europe?

Old 08-28-18, 06:31 AM
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How dangerous it is to cycle on East Europe?

Hi,

I've been thinking about a cycle touring around East Europe for a while. I've cycled most of West Europe for now, but as a Brazilian, I know pretty well that most of the world is not as beautiful for cyclists as Germany, Netherlands and places like that.
Before moving to Germany, I've been hit 7 times by drivers in Brazil. Last time it was pretty serious and I almost died. After that, I became very scared about cycling on unknown places, because I know most drivers don't give a damn about the life of cyclists.

Anyone here have experience on cycling around East Europe? Could you describe how is the behavior of the drivers there?

My idea is to go Germany -> Poland -> Czechia -> Austria -> Slovenia -> Croatia -> Bosnia And Herzegovina -> Serbia -> Romania -> Bulgaria.

I appreciate for any information about those places.
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Old 08-28-18, 06:49 AM
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dangerous in what aspect --- getting robbed? dangerous traffic? what else?
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Old 08-28-18, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by str
dangerous in what aspect --- getting robbed? dangerous traffic? what else?
Dangerous about drivers trying to kill you.
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Old 08-28-18, 08:00 AM
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I'm currently in Bulgaria after cycling through, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine and Romania. So far so good, the biggest dangers do far have been the roads themselves, the drivers for the most part have been good.
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Old 08-28-18, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by valeriano
Dangerous about drivers trying to kill you.
you think in these countries drivers try to kill cyclists? in Eastern EU countries in general driving is a bit more crazy, compared to Germany, Spain, Austria, France ..... act midd EU. in Eastern Eu they leave you less "space" on the road, knowing this I would avoid the MAX cycling on national roads. use if possible only off roads or very little roads between small villages.
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Old 08-28-18, 08:10 AM
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I'll second Str's recommendation of staying off the national roads. They are way too small for the type and volume of traffic they carry, smaller country or backroads are a lot more pleasant, just be prepared for rough surfaces.
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Old 08-28-18, 08:18 AM
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I just finished a ride in Croatia and Slovenia. Most of the roads I traveled had a bit of shoulder (2 feet?) and weren’t very busy. I didn’t like riding on busy roads along the Croatian Coast or in the islands, but I pulled over when I saw (In my rear view mirror — you do use a rear view mirror, right? —) a line of cars coming.

Slovenia is a low population, bike-friendly country with many bike paths and rural roads. The only time I had worries was on the main road to Lake Bled during road construction.

The worst country for riding in Europe without question is the U.K., where there are no shoulders on the roads and much less tolerant drivers than anyplace I’ve ridden.
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Old 08-28-18, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by str
you think in these countries drivers try to kill cyclists? in Eastern EU countries in general driving is a bit more crazy, compared to Germany, Spain, Austria, France ..... act midd EU. in Eastern Eu they leave you less "space" on the road, knowing this I would avoid the MAX cycling on national roads. use if possible only off roads or very little roads between small villages.
I have no idea. Never been to any of those countries. That's why I'm asking.
So, big roads (like the german autobahns) are unsafe, and small country roads are safer, right?
Because normally small country roads have no shoulder (I'm not sure if that's the right word for the space where the car stops when it brakes), and in Brazil, drivers tend to be more aggressive to cyclists on roads like that, because they are forced to share the road. In Brazil, I would avoid small roads as much as possible.
Does this happen in Eastern European countries too?
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Old 08-28-18, 08:36 AM
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Big fast "connection" roads, "national" roads have usually more traffic, makes them more "dangerous" using your therm. anyway, I guess when we go touring we want to enjoy nature, nature unspoiled .... little villages, little roads, even better off roads ... there we have less traffic, and on off roads we have no traffic at all, thats what I like about touring. I am not interested in any tarmac and cities ....
maybe you have no side lanes on small roads, but who wants to cycle on side lanes with lots a car and truck traffic? me not.
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Old 08-28-18, 09:06 AM
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I have been directly hit by cars in Canada that cut me off by turning (right) in front of my and by driving into my path on a side street. Last time I was taken by ambulance to a hospital. Lots of bicyclist deaths in London, England and Melbourne, Australia too.

Never bicycled in E. Europe, but I doubt it would be any more dangerous than Australia, Canada, or England.

Last edited by tmac100; 08-31-18 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 08-28-18, 01:01 PM
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lets face it, route selection is a big factor, with bad luck sometimes of no shoulder, lots of traffic, trucks, etc so as someone who has ridden in various countries, having a good working mirror and always being situationally aware goes a long way to reduce risks of traffic situations that can be very serious.

sorry, no Eastern European experience personally.
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Old 08-28-18, 01:09 PM
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I've driven around Poland and Czech. I'd second that the main routes are generally overcrowded, but there are so many lesser roads that are empty that I wouldn't give it a second thought.
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Old 08-28-18, 02:06 PM
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a couple of weeks ago we completed a tour of the border region of Czech Republic and Germany. As long as we stayed on local roads recommended also for bicycles we had a pleasant experience but once we went on a highway and the experience was much more stressful. The best advice I received for biking Czech Republic and Germany was to download a map app called mapy.cz . It has a good knowhow of bicycling routes and it could be used entirely off line without the need of any cell signal.

We used it exclusively and extensively during our tour :-)
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Old 08-28-18, 04:03 PM
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I understand that you're worried about being hit, but unfortunately, for most of us who don't live in the Netherlands or Germany, etc. it's the reality we have to deal with. Do you return to the car as they want you to and never enjoy your passion/hobby again, or do you carry on with it knowing that you may very well get hit and/or die when it happens?

I've biked 21 countries in Europe, including some that you have listed. Poland was a good country to bike! Romania had the worst drivers in Europe and Bulgaria had bad roads - but this was back in 2000 and I know the EU invested heavily in road improvements there. I doubt the driving has improved in Romania. The other countries you list I haven't been to. There is one idea I can give you that another tourer passed on to me when we met on the road some place in Europe... to force them to give you a berth, take a long piece of wood and carve the ends to points. Then cover them and the pole in aluminum foil so it looks like metal. Place it on the back of your bike, on top of all your stuff width wise, so that it lays left to right. Hopefully, this will deter drivers from not giving you enough space.
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Old 08-28-18, 10:44 PM
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The countries of eastern Europe I've cycled through include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechia (aka Czech Republic), Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria. Never had any issues in any of those that was any different than the western European countries I've cycled through. For the most part I've stayed off major roadways and stuck to backroads. Even with less traffic, those roads were problematic due to their condition. Anyone driving a Bulgarian backroad cannot go but so fast because the surface condition is so abysmal....huge potholes everywhere that the drivers have to slowly weave from side to side on the road to avoid them. Many of the roads in Latvia and Lithuania were a series of asphalt patches filling in potholes, and in some cases even the patches had patches.

Bottom line is that I've never been any more alarmed by drivers in these countries than anywhere else typically deemed more cycling friendly.
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Old 08-29-18, 12:50 AM
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Haven't toured in most of the places you've mentioned, but if you do a search on CrazyGuyOnABike.com for journals featuring those countries you'll get information on routes and riding conditions.
Of relevance too, is the time the observations were made. There's been a lot of investment in primary road networks in Eastern Europe - the secondary roads may still be relatively poor in condition, but much less busy than before because the traffic now is on motorways.

I use one of these Bicyline Spacer for bikes - - Your safety, our goal
Light, very robust, deployable at will and easy to adjust to riding on the left or right.

Good Luck!
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Old 08-29-18, 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo
There is one idea I can give you that another tourer passed on to me when we met on the road some place in Europe... to force them to give you a berth, take a long piece of wood and carve the ends to points. Then cover them and the pole in aluminum foil so it looks like metal. Place it on the back of your bike, on top of all your stuff width wise, so that it lays left to right. Hopefully, this will deter drivers from not giving you enough space.
That's quite a good idea. Thank you.
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Old 08-29-18, 03:09 AM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo
I understand that you're worried about being hit, but unfortunately, for most of us who don't live in the Netherlands or Germany, etc. it's the reality we have to deal with. Do you return to the car as they want you to and never enjoy your passion/hobby again, or do you carry on with it knowing that you may very well get hit and/or die when it happens?

I've biked 21 countries in Europe, including some that you have listed. Poland was a good country to bike! Romania had the worst drivers in Europe and Bulgaria had bad roads - but this was back in 2000 and I know the EU invested heavily in road improvements there. I doubt the driving has improved in Romania. The other countries you list I haven't been to. There is one idea I can give you that another tourer passed on to me when we met on the road some place in Europe... to force them to give you a berth, take a long piece of wood and carve the ends to points. Then cover them and the pole in aluminum foil so it looks like metal. Place it on the back of your bike, on top of all your stuff width wise, so that it lays left to right. Hopefully, this will deter drivers from not giving you enough space.
good luck with truck drivers and the pole thing..... lets hope you stay ON the bike....
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Old 08-29-18, 06:22 PM
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I've just cycled from Cambodia (where they drive like Chipanzees on crack), and up through Vietnam which is famous for it's rivers of motorbikes on the road.

No problems really apart from the girlfriend got pranged lightly by some women wanting to be first.

So interesting question, on whether Eastern Europe has more dangerous roads given maybe the speed difference on the rds in Europe.
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Old 08-30-18, 12:28 PM
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Was in Poland , and Czechoslovakia in 91,
Warsaw pact had just dissolved and Berlin Wall breached..
2 years earlier .. I went Solo..

Cars Were 2 stroke Trabants , and so forth ..
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Old 08-30-18, 02:04 PM
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I sure as heck wouldnt use a solid piece of wood as a visual deterrent.
There are all kinds of light, flexible options out there.
Its not a new idea, but dont use a solid hard thing that could end up hurting you, seriously.
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