Friday February 14, 2020
More space for cyclists, higher penalties for incorrect parking – and possibly a speed limit on highways? The Federal Council votes on numerous new regulations that affect drivers and cyclists. Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer has presented a whole package of changes to the Road Traffic Regulations (StVO), which should make cycling in the city safer and more attractive, for example. There are plenty of requests for changes and additions from the Federal Council committees.
This also includes a proposal for a general speed limit of 130 on the motorways. However, it remains to be seen whether this recommendation of the environmental committee of the regional chamber finds a majority in plenary. In general, the following applies: If the Federal Council approves a regulation with certain changes, the Federal Government must implement it in this form – but it could also withdraw it. This also applies to other requests for changes.
An overview of the most important rules planned by the Federal Government – on which the Federal Council could still change a lot:
Penalties for incorrect parking: The fines for parking in the “second row” on sidewalks and bike paths should increase – from 15 euros to up to 100 euros. This should also apply to stopping on protective strips for cyclists, i.e. on bike paths that are painted on the road with a dashed white line. So far, cars have been allowed to stop there for three minutes. If someone is disabled or endangered, something breaks or someone parks on the sidewalk or bike path for more than an hour, there can also be a point in Flensburg, i.e. in the driving aptitude register.
Form and keep an escape lane: Drivers have to make room for emergency services, and in emergency situations they have to form emergency lanes. Those who do not do so will be punished and should be able to collect a driving ban in the future. In addition, it should also be possible to prosecute and punish anyone who drives through an emergency alley without permission. There are fines between 200 and 320 euros, a month’s driving ban and two points in Flensburg.
New rules for bus lanes: The lanes for buses in cities can already be released for taxis or cyclists. In the future, this should also be possible for cars in which at least three people are driving – the aim is to make carpooling more attractive. Ultimately, it should be decided on site.
Protection for cyclists: So far, motorists have had to keep “sufficient” distance when overtaking cyclists. In the future, at least 1.50 meters should be mandatory in town and 2 meters outside of town. Trucks over 3.5 tons should only be allowed to drive at right pace when turning right in town. There is a fine of 70 euros. In dangerous places, a sign is supposed to prohibit cars and trucks from overtaking single-track vehicles. Before intersections and junctions with bike paths, up to eight meters of parking should apply to improve visibility.
Green arrow and other rights for cyclists: A green arrow allows you to turn right when a traffic light glows red – but only if you stop and don’t endanger anyone. In the future there will be a green arrow that only applies to cyclists. In addition to bicycle roads, there should also be entire zones. A maximum of 30 km / h is permitted there, and cycling must not be endangered or hindered.
In addition, the Federal Council votes on some more far-reaching amendments that come from its committees:
speed limit: The Environment Committee suggests that a general speed limit of 130 kilometers per hour should apply on motorways. The debate continues to pick up speed. The SPD has mentioned Tempo 130 as a new project that it wants to talk about in the grand coalition. The Union is largely against it. A sensation caused that the ADAC has given up its strict no. As expected, the Greens’ push for 130 km / h failed in the Bundestag in October. Most SPD MPs voted against this, as is usual with opposition motions.
Residential parking: The Federal Council’s Transport Committee proposes to extend the fee range for residents’ parking permits in cities – from EUR 10.20 to EUR 30.70 to EUR 10 to 240 per year. Scheuer is open to more municipal leeway, but considers that to be excessive. He warned in advance that the road through the StVO poses legal risks. This means that the entire amendment could not be announced.
Other suggestions: There is also a vote on proposals that rental companies of e-scooters will need a permit in the future, including a concept for parking the vehicle. Another move targets higher fines for parking without a parking ticket.