It's been said many a time before - Germans, they like their rules. It might be a stereotype, but after you've been shouted at one too many times for cycling on the pavement or crossing the street when you shouldn't be you realise that there's some basis to the stereotype.
So to help you assimilate and so that you don't get shouted at by very angry Germans here are a few things to do and not do when out and about in the city.
1. Don't cycle on the pavement
You might think it's ok because many a German does it but I've been shouted at that when I come to this country I should learn to behave when I was cycling on the pavement. So y'know, learn to behave... except when those damn cobblestones are so bumpy, and then just decide which discomfort you'd prefer.
2. Don't walk in the bicycle lane
No, seriously just don't. It might look like it's just part of the pavement BUT IT'S CLEARLY NOT. Can't you see the white line separating out where you should be and where the bikes should be?? As a newbie to Berlin you might find yourself wandering across this white line frequently but, don't worry, some irate cyclists will quickly put you right.
3. Give way to the right
This one is actually pretty important if you're cycling. It took me a long time to find out about this rule which resulted in a lot of near collisions with cars. On smaller roads you must always give way to the right, even if it seems like you're on the main road and you should be able to blast through without a care in the world. If you're coming from the right you'll notice most cars stopping for you. Be careful with this one though, some people stop, others don't. I really hate this rule.
4. Don't cross on a red man
In London you cross when it's free, red or green man. When I first moved to Berlin and started crossing when no traffic was coming I couldn't really understand why no one else was crossing and why I was getting such dark looks. I quickly learned. So don't cross on a red man, or if you do then do it very furtively. If there's a child waiting anywhere near the lights just wait, whatever you do just wait, lest you should be called a child murderer. Yes, really.
5. Make sure your bike is fully equipped
If you like driving around town on your ultra-minimal fixie then just make sure you avoid those bike police that lurk on corners. Your bike is illegal if you don't have two separate braking devices, fixable lights, reflectors and a whole heap more. In fact there's a whole ton of biking rules including having to always ride with both hands on the handles, which causes troubles when one of my favourite pastimes is to drink coffee on a casual bike ride. Check out all the bike rules here.
That's enough rules from me. Have you got some that I haven't mentioned yet? Let me know in the comments. Next time - Getting to grips with the rules of living in apartment blocks.