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Siena by bike: instructions for use

Safety and rules for cycling in the streets of Siena

When visiting an area by bike, it is utterly necessary to be aware of local rules for both sharing routes with hikers and horse riders and for exploring city centers and old villages, where walking your bike may be suggested due to the intense flow of tourists.

If you are cycling in the ‘Terre di Siena’, you may come across a signpost for road sharing and respect between drivers and cyclists, suggesting to keep a safety distance between cars, bikes and pedestrians of at least 1,5 meters, especially in case of overtaking. This road signage, which municipalities insisted on having and which is aligned with the European law, comes as a confirmation of how bike-friendly the territory is, especially after the approval of the latest version of the Italian Highway Code (Sept. 18th 2023), which guarantees a better protection of cyclists’ safety. 

In addition to the rules for overtaking, the new code also provide a “cycle buffer zone”, i.e. a stop line that is differentiated from the one for cars. Moreover, they provide each municipality with the authority to allow bikes to be driven into oncoming traffic on two-way bike lanes. 

For the city of Siena, there is a specific regulation for bikes in the Limited Traffic Zone (the Italian ZTL): this regulation is focused on the streets that cannot be cycled, on respect towards pedestrians and on the different rules to follow while parking your bike, paying extreme attention not to park it on elements of historical value for the city. 

Despite us being sure that you are going to be able to enjoy the beauty of Tuscan alleys and squares even while walking your bikes for short distances, here below we provide you with a small vademecum of all the main rules that you have to follow while cycling.

Electric Bikes/Assisted Pedaling

The maximum power allowed for e-bikes shall not exceed 250 Watt and the maximum speed must be under 30 km/h.

Cyclists can freely ride but they must:

  • Ride in the same direction as other vehicles
  • Walk their own bike when they may be a hindrance to pedestrians’ safety (art. 182 Italian Highway Code)
  • Always give way to pedestrians
  • Proceed at low speed when approaching or overtaking pedestrians (pedestrians routes are unpredictable and irregular)
  • Signal pedestrians of their presence at night, have white headlight on and a red rear light or reflector
  • Do not exceed the limit of speed of 10 km/h

Riding is not allowed on the following streets:

  • Banchi di Sopra 
  • Banchi di Sotto, between via di San Vigilio and via di Città 
  • Il Campo, upper section between Casato di Sotto e via Rinaldini (Chiasso Largo) 
  • vicolo del Bargello 
  • costarella dei Barbieri 
  • vicolo di S. Paolo 
  • vicolo di S. Pietro 
  • vicolo dei Borsellai 
  • vicolo dei Pollaioli 
  • via di Città 
  • via delle Donzelle, between Banchi di Sotto and vicolo del Viscione 
  • via delle Terme, between piazza dell’Indipendenza and via di Città 
  • via di Beccheria 
  • via dei Pellegrini, between via di Città and via di Monna Agnese 
  • via delle Campane 
  • via del Castoro, between via di Città and via del Poggio 

Bicycles parking

YES: racks or where they are not a hindrance to vehicles and pedestrians. 

NO: balusters or other elements of urban design as small pillars, railings, Fonte Gaia balustrade, in front of shop windows and front doors. 

In conclusion, cyclists who follow this rule will not only be able to freely enjoy cities and small towns on their bikes without any risk, but they will also contribute to guaranteeing other people’s safety. 

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