Cycling in Sofia, or anywhere else, requires some knowledge of the rules. On this page you will find the most important. Of course the text of the law is the only valid text so don’t hold us liable for any mistakes or misinterpretations on this page.

The priority rules for bikes are the same as for cars: follow the priority rules as indicated by the traffic signs and on “equal” intersections, traffic coming from the right has priority.

If there are no bike lanes, you can bike on the road. You are supposed to bike on the most right-hand side lane and as much as possible to the right. Of course, if there are cars parked, you move at least the width of a car door away from the car. People are not accustomed to bikes on the road so they seldom check their mirrors to see if there is one.

If there is a dedicated lane for a left turn, you are allowed to take that lane.

You have to indicate with an arm stretched out if you want to make a left or right turn (or move to the dedicated left turn lane.

You are not allowed to bike on the pedestrian area or sidewalk. Only people 12 years and younger are allowed to bike on the sidewalk.

You are not allowed to bike on a marked pedestrian crossing or “zebra”, you have to get of your bike and walk;

Is the shopping area on “Vitoshka” a pedestrian area? No, it is not, at least it is not marked that way. So are we allowed to bike there? No, because it is a one way street and remarkably, it is marked as such coming from all directions!

If you bike in a group, you are not allowed to bike side by side. There is something a bit vague in the law: a group that is in training (“група за тренировка”), must have a car or motorcycle in front and at the back. What exactly is a group in training is not so clear, so lets interpret that as amateur or professionals training for the next race. Any group that is cycling for recreation will not count as “in training”.

You have to wear a reflective vest outside the city limits, at night and when visibility is poor. What exactly is understood with poor visibility is not very clear, lets say in heavy rain or fog.

You are not obliged to wear a helmet.

Reflective vests and helmets are a recurring discussion in Bulgaria. The obligation to wear a reflective vest outside the city limits and when visibility is poor makes sense; reflective vests can contribute to your safety because they make you more visible. Helmets are not obligatory (as in all other EU countries) and we agree with that. Helmets contribute to reducing injuries but don’t contribute to reducing accidents. Be very aware of that!

A bike should have:

  • Brakes;
  • A bell but no other device to make sounds;
  • A white or yellow front light and rear red reflector or red light;
  • White or yellow reflectors or reflective elements on the sides of the wheels.


Last update: 2015.01.28