Tess is in the middle of her fahrrad überprüfen (literally to check bike), however, it turns out, there is an awful lot that goes with this.  I apologize to my German friends if I’m not completely clear in my understanding, while my German is good, my German-legal is abysmal. And Tess translating German-legal for me is not helpful.

When we first moved here, Dave & I both studied the bazillion road signs fanatically.  We also had one, long, morning class on post to help us learn the rules of the roads.  We also have our American drivers license, our German drivers license, and our international drivers license.  Phew!  In order to ride her bike, Tess has to learn the bazillion road signs as well, plus have a fully-functioning & properly outfit bike and helmet, and pass a test.  Then she will get her bike license.

Until Tess has her bike license she may not ride her bike to school. If she does so anyway, she will be sent home.  She can ride her bike in town, but only on the sidewalks.  She may not ride on the roads until she has her bike license.

Tess & her class studied the bazillion road signs in class, as well as basic rules of the road.  Now they have a series of five 2-hour sessions with our local police, at the local bike riding school.  Each sessions starts with a review on specific rules & signs, then the entire class (in our case the entire 3rd & 4th grade classes, it’s less than 20 kids) goes outside to practice.

Each practice starts with a walk through the bike course.  The policeman stops at each intersection, each sign, and does a quick quiz & review.  The kids also pretend to ride bikes and the whole class does a test “drive” through the course. Finally it’s time for each kid to hop on a bike, decked out in safety gear (Tess is number 15 waiting for the light to change) and try it on their bikes.

Each intersection, or sign, has a policeman, teacher or parent volunteer to help guide the kids.  Here, pictured, Tess is learning the rules of the road when there are traffic lights involved.  I picked this photo because I captured both the red & yellow light on at the same time.  In Germany, before turning green, the light again cycles briefly through yellow.  Kind of like the light countdown at the race track.  I love this!  I wish all countries did this.

You can also see the orange diamond priority sign.  In Europe roads merging in from the right have priority by default.  This means a car merging onto your road from a right sideroad has right of way.  You must let them in.  It is the hardest thing to learn!  Thankfully most of the main roads are priority roads, marked with the orange diamond priority sign.  That means cars merging in from the right no longer have priority.

Obviously a light trumps priority signs.  However lights do not always run all day, especially in small towns, traffic lights can be turned off fairly early in the evening. Then the rules of the road, right has right-of-way, come into play.  At the practice grounds they work this intersection both with, and without, traffic lights.  Tess’ written test is today.  We are both anxious to see how well she does.  She has a new bike riding on this.