The county and township roads. This road network is very extensive built trougout the country, but the quality of those roads can be worse than expected. A roughly 40 % of the county and township roads in Romania are unpaved. Great business for the off road and gravel driving motorcyclist, but not so good if you are riding a Harley or other kind of street bike.
Some of the secondary roads are the hidden gems of motorcycle travelling in Romania. With little or no traffic , they are renovated and provide some of the best motorbike routes in the country. Ask a local or check for the road conditions before, and you can have the ride of your lifetime on perfect asphalt and great curves and turnings with perfect landscapes.
Traffic participants. The traffic regulations in Romania are the same as in the rest of Europe.
Pedestrians do not attend always the traffic rules as they should, especially in the villages and small towns. Remember, until 10 years ago Romania had a much smaller traffic volume on his roads, so people are not so well accustomed to that.
Bicycle riders – they do tend to be more common in the rural regions, the bicycle is for most of them the only way for getting around fast and cheap. Not subjected to any regulation, some of them can be riding their bicycle home from the local pub, after having too much beers. In the later years, a new class of bicycle riders is on the rise – well equipped and well trained youngsters are using mountain bikes and speed bikes to explore the countryside – you can meet them in touristic regions or on the outskirt of almost every big city.
Domestic animals – cows, dogs, cats, chicken and gooses may and will run over the street at any time. Sheep flocks complete with shepherd, dogs and mule are a common sight, especially in mountainous and hill regions of Romania.
Horse and bull-drawn carts and wagons are often common in the rural regions, and the wagoneers do not need to absolve a driving school to be able to drive a horse cart. It is the cheapest and most popular transport meaning for a lot of romanians living on the countryside, and the lack of good roads in the forests and meadows will assure long time from now the use of horse carriages.
Small cars and automobiles – for the last 10 to 15 years owning a car is not uncommon in Romania. Almost every family owns a car, but you can see on the road everything rolling around – from the communist-era old wrecks up to the newest and most expensive Jaguar or Lexus. This mix of car models and performances and the lack of modern roads can be graded as a danger generating situation – the drivers of new and expensive cars will always seek to overtake everybody else, sometimes at any cost!
Trucks , busses and freight wagons – they also come in all various shapes and sizes, and some of them are behaving also erratic and chaotic on the road while driving- sometimes just responding to the timetable pressure imposed on the drivers by our growing and fast forming capitalist economy.
Motorcycles – in old times they where very a few and rare sighting, but in the later years they are becoming more an more present on Romanian roads. There are two main classes to be distinguished – the few “real” motorcyclists , almost not different from those from the western parts of Europe (and showing the same bike models and types ) and the many who drive small scooters and other 2 wheeled vehicles with some kind of motorization.
Drivers of cars and trucks can have sometimes a hard time in judging the speed of an incoming motorbike, so be aware at turning or crossing maneuvers.
A large part of dirvers do not make a difference between a real bike and a 2-stroke scooter, so they are falsely expecting that any motorbike should drive on the right side of the road. Do not do that. Motorcycle have the same street rights as any other vehicle, and for some of the car drivers the “right roadside” is always a few inches more to the right – and there you can find the worst holes, gravel parts, oil spillage spots and some unlucky pedestrians. Drive along the middle line on the road, especially at night.
Road surface can be often slippery – on Romanian roads are still rolling around a large number of old cars, trucks and tractors, spilling oil and other waste on the road. On the road painted traffic signs and indicators are in many cases made with slippery paint, so be aware on rainy days while breaking on road marks and pedestrian crossings.
Traffic police matters and issues. The Romanian traffic police are not better or worse in comparison to other police forces in the western world. Some corruption problems may still stain the good name of our traffic police, but generally speaking you can expect them to be correct and sometimes even helpful.
The romanian traffic law is considered to be aligned with the European main legislation traffic issues, but our penalties for traffic offences are at much lower rates than in other European countries. The fine is to be paid to the police officer or at the next postal office. Paid within 48 h , the amount of the penalty is cut in half. As an example , for riding 67 kmh in the 50 kmh traffic zone you should pay just 80 lei in the first 48 h from getting caught (under 20 euros). For such low fines it is almost useless to try to bribe the police officer. Of course, for bigger offences there are bigger fines and penalties, so driving in accordance to the law is very helpful for keeping your driver license and your money where they belong, in your wallet.
The Romanian police has a annoying habit, by setting up speed traps on roads that not quiet need to be driven at 50 km/h, even when they are inside the limits of a village or small town. Some luck and some foresight from the motorcycle driver is here to apply, and also some help can come from other traffic participants, in the form of flashing headlights from the cars that drive on the opposite lane. Drivers in Romania are used to give that kind of signal to warn incoming traffic of almost everything is happening on the road ahead– accidents, traffic jams, police, speed traps or damaged road.
The shortened and not exhaustive description of traffic and road conditions in Romania shown above are not meant to frighten or discourage travelers who ride their own bike or drive their own car.
Romania as a motorcycle land has much to offer, it combines adventure and new experiences and can be explored on 2 or 4 wheels in perfect safety, even when some local aspects did not meet the standards in the rest of Europe. Although, driving trough a foreign country is always an assumed and calculated risk, and with some thoughtfulness and without haste and too much speed Romania is a place where every biker can experience a great holiday on 2 wheels.