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These traffic rules will apply from January 2021

Passing on the right in traffic jams, forming emergency lanes and other important innovations in the Road Traffic Act.

The answer in detail

At its meeting on May 20, 2020, the Federal Council approved the revised traffic regulations and signalization ordinances, which will now come into force on January 1, 2021. These are the most important new rules:

New regulations relating to cars, motorcycles, mopeds and e-bikes:

Passing on the right in traffic jams

Now, in the event of gridlocked traffic, congestion or an accident, cars parked on the left or middle lane may be passed on the right. This allows traffic to flow longer on both lanes. Overtaking on the right (swerving into the right lane and then immediately swerving back into it) remains prohibited. Those who do not comply will now have to pay a fine. This is a significant change from the previous legislation, which punished such violations as gross traffic violations. 

Forming an emergency lane

In the event of gridlocked traffic or congestion, drivers must now form an emergency lane to facilitate the deployment of emergency vehicles. This means that drivers must leave enough space between the left and right lanes - in the case of three-lane roads between the left and the two right lanes - for rescue vehicles. The emergency lane must not be used under any circumstances. Failure to use the emergency lane will result in an administrative fine.

Zipper principle

If two lanes on the freeway are reduced to one, the zipper principle now applies. Drivers must allow vehicles to merge into the reduced lane. This is intended to prevent vehicles from switching to the remaining lane too early when lanes are removed, as often happens today. This allows traffic to flow more smoothly. Failure to observe the zipper principle is punishable by a fine.

Learner's license from the age of 17

People under the age of 20 must now complete a twelve-month learning phase before they are allowed to take the practical driving test. This will increase road safety: The more accompanied learning drives that take place before the practical test, the lower the accident risk afterwards. To ensure that the driver's license can still be obtained at the age of 18, the age for obtaining the learner's license will be lowered to 17. Transitional provisions (Art. 151l para. 1 and para. 1bis of the Traffic Licensing Ordinance [VZV] of 1.1.2021) apply to persons born between 2001 and 2003.

Parking spaces with charging stations for electric vehicles

Parking spaces with charging stations for electric vehicles can now be colored green. In addition, the symbol "charging station" will be created. This can be used to designate parking spaces that have a charging station for electric vehicles.Parking for a fee
Parking spaces for which a fee is charged can now also be introduced for motorcycles, mopeds and fast e-bikes. The scope of the "parking for a fee" signal will be extended to all vehicles.


Alcohol at freeway service stations

Alcohol may be sold and served at freeway service stations from January. The Federal Council has lifted the ban in the National Roads Ordinance.


Relief for certain heavy motor vehicles over 3500 kilograms total weight

Blood donor services will be exempt from the Sunday and night driving ban, and veteran vehicles will be exempt from the Sunday driving ban.

Speed increase for vehicles with trailers

For light motor vehicles with trailers up to 3.5 tons, the maximum permitted speed is increased from 80 km/h to 100 km/h. Provided that the trailer and the towing vehicle are approved for this speed.

"feets" marking in 30 km/h speed zones

In order to increase traffic safety in 30 km/h speed zones, suitable pedestrian crossing points on the sidewalk can be marked with "feets". These footprints are intended to indicate the safest crossing location, as pedestrian crossings may only be marked in speed-30 zones in exceptional cases.


New regulations regarding the bicycle:

Turn right on red

Cyclists and moped riders are now allowed to turn right at red lights, provided that this is signaled accordingly. However, this is not a general permission to turn right at a red light.


Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk

If there is no bicycle path or bicycle lane, children up to 12 years of age may use the sidewalk with their bicycles. The Federal Council is aware that this can disturb pedestrians on the sidewalks. However, the new regulation helps to prevent accidents between children and cars and thus serves road safety.


Area for cyclists at traffic signals

In the future, it will be possible to mark an area for cyclists in front of traffic signals, even if there is no bike lane. In addition, detour signage for non-motorized traffic will be introduced.


Bicycle parking spaces

Marked parking spaces can now be reserved for bicycles with a bicycle symbol without the need for additional signalization as before.


Right of way for bicycle lanes in 30 km/h zones

In 30 km/h zones, the right of way normally applies. In the future, it will be possible to establish bicycle lanes with right of way in these zones. Such bicycle lanes can be marked with a large bicycle symbol. A special "bicycle lane" signal will be dispensed with.