Riding The Nurburgring Nordschleife (North Loop) – A Safety Guide For Motorcyclists

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE RIDING THE CIRCUIT

The Nurburgring-Nordschleife is located 55 miles south from the German city of Cologne (Koln). Motorcycle holidays that include a visit to this world famous racetrack are very popular.
The Nordschleife (North Loop) is a 13 mile long circuit that has more than 73 bends. It’s classed as a one-way public toll road without speed limits (except on approach to the entrance and exit). Officially vehicles must be 100% road legal and normal German road traffic law applies.
Take your vehicle’s documents, Driving Licence and Passport. You probably won’t be asked to produce these documents, but it’s a legal requirement to carry them when riding in Germany, even on normal public roads.
You must wear full protective clothing (not necessarily leather). Suitable boots, gloves and jackets designed for motorcycle use will be fine (no jeans, t-shirts or trainers). Wear a crash helmet that has a visor or a crash helmet with goggles.
Your motorcycle must be road worthy and have rear view mirrors on both sides. Also make sure your tyres are in good condition and have plenty of tread left (if you’re a hard rider, and do several 13-mile long laps, you could end up with no rubber for your return journey). Slick tyres are forbidden.
Officially there’s a noise limit of 95 decibels for all vehicles. This can be measured at trackside or by officials making spot checks. Despite this rule, many people ride or drive the circuit with very loud exhaust systems. In my experience it’s highly unlikely you’ll be refused entry for this reason.
The taking of photos or videos while riding the Nurburgring-Nordschleife is now prohibited. Photos and videos can be taken from various viewing areas outside of the track boundaries.
Store the Nurburgring-Nordschleife emergency telephone number on your mobile phone before you start your lap: 0800 0302 112

SAFETY INFORMATION FOR RIDING THE RACETRACK

My advice for first-timers is to think of the circuit as a fast road ride and not a racetrack!
Overtaking on the right is forbidden. Overtake on the left (indicate first to let others know your intensions).
Always be aware that you may encounter much slower moving vehicles (anything from camper vans to tourist coaches use the track).
Check your mirrors for fast moving vehicles approaching from behind, if it’s faster than you, move to the right and let it past (bear in mind that some people are regular ‘ringers’, there’s always likely to be someone faster than you).
Don’t go crazy on your first few laps. It can take many laps for a good rider to learn the circuit; don’t think you’re a bad rider because other people pass you. Ride at your own pace.
Avoid the temptation to explore the limits of your machine. If riding with a pillion passenger allow an extra safety margin. Don’t put pressure on yourself by trying to impress your friends or by timing your lap.
Never overtake a safety car when its roof mounted yellow lights are flashing. Follow at a safe distance until the lights are switched off or the safety car leaves the track.
If you see a plain yellow flag being waved by trackside officials this means ‘danger ahead, no overtaking’. Approach and pass the danger zone cautiously and at a speed appropriate to the situation (max. 50 kph / 31 mph).
If you see a yellow flag with vertical red stripes being waved by trackside officials this means ‘oil or other fluids on the track, no overtaking’. Slow down and proceed with caution (max. 50 kph / 31 mph).
In case of a breakdown stop your motorcycle at a safe place on the grass verge next to the track. Stand behind the safety barrier and call the emergency number for assistance. There’s a charge for removing your vehicle from the track.
In the event of an accident anyone involved, and any witnesses, must stop to offer assistance. Call the Nurburgring-Nordschleife emergency telephone number.
Beware, if you’re found to be at fault in an accident, prosecutions and fines may follow. You may also be liable for any costs incurred for track repairs and track closures.
Anyone found not complying with the Nurburgring-Nordschleife rules can be banned from riding on the track.

There are several companies offering motorcycle holidays in Europe that will also supply an experienced guide for trips to the Nurburgring. This may be the best option if you’re considering riding the circuit for the first time.

WARNING

Your personal insurance and motorcycle insurance may not cover you for riding the Nurburgring-Nordschleife. If you’re not covered by these policies, you’ll be riding the circuit entirely at your own risk.

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