Laws or ordinances about parking a bicycle

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I've done all the searches for a thread about bike parking but couldn't find anything, so here goes:

 

What's the score on parking a bike on the pavement/sidewalk in Germany? I realize that lots of shopkeepers put signs in their windows saying "please don't park your bike in front of this window", and of course it's rude to park your bike in a way that it blocks an entrance/egress, or prevents pedestrians from going past on the pavement/sidewalk, but I'm wondering what the law says about these things. I assume the signs that say "Fire Exit: do not chain your bike to this railing" are backed up by the law, but are the storekeepers' requests similarly "legal"? Can a homeowner tell you off for parking your bike on "their" pavement (the public one that goes in front of their house, outside their fence), even if your bike isn't touching their fence or private property? Is there a specific amount of space one needs to leave between a bike (or bike trailer) and the street-edge of the pavement (to ensure passers-by can actually pass by), or is it legal (though rude) to more or less block, say, half of the width of the pavement with a bike (as car-drivers often do with their cars, if they park on the pavement)?

 

In short, are there specific laws or regulations regarding bike parking? If so, where can I find them? Are they municipal, state, or federal in nature? I'd appreciate learning the score. Thanks in advance!

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There is no general law on where bikes are allowed to be parked; cyclists, like all others participating in traffic on streets, sidewalks and other public areas, are bound by §1 StVO (Act on Street Traffic) to be considerate of others at all time and to not obstruct them more than necessary or endanger them.

 

Shop owners may request people to not park in front of their plate glass windows, and beside the fact that they pay rent for a large, transparent shop front, common sense recommends obedience. You really don't want someone knocking into your bike which then falls against a window, cracking or smashing it.

 

Generally, you may park your bike anywhere where it does not obstruct others or block a passage. Leave enough room for a wheelchair or stroller or heavily packed person to pass, or for two pedestrians to pass each other without touching and you're fine.

 

Watch out for cafés or restaurants with outside seating: They are alotted a specific area of the sidewalk for their tables and chairs, you are not allowed to park there and you have to leave the above mentioned passage unobstructed. If you park a bike at 7 am with plenty of room and the guy sets up his tables afterwards you may be in the way of foot and other traffic.

 

When in doubt, park where there is room and walk a few more steps to your destination. It makes life easier on others and gives you a chance to loosen your muscles and use a different set than those required for riding a bike.

 

Related topic: Manhandled by hotel doorman for cycling on the pavement

 

EDIT:

 

However, if an area is designated to pedestrians only with a no parking sign such sign applies to bicycles as well as other vehicles!

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Sarabyrd, thanks for your detailed reply! My question is really about legally defining "where there is room", as you say. Do I understand correctly that there is no specific legal definition as to what constitutes "obstructing others", then? That is, if there's a sidewalk that is, say, 1 meter across, or 1.5 meters across, or 2 meters across, would one be *legally permitted* to park a bike on all three? Some of the pavements here are too narrow for a wheelchair user to begin with (they'd use the street, like those with strollers do), and in fact the narrow pavement is where everyone seems to park their bikes even though it's not designated as bike parking.

 

The background to my question is that I witnessed someone getting told off for parking their bike with child-transport-trailer on a sidewalk where there was enough space left for a person with a wheelchair or double-buggy to move past, but not enough for two wheelchairs side-by-side... at any rate, the person doing the telling-off said "You can't park here! Do you think you own the pavement?!" and the person parking the bike and trailer said "Do you think *you* do? I can park here - Just watch me!". This was in front of a private residence (not a shop window), across from a Kindergarten where there was no bike-designated place in sight. To me, it seemed a perfectly convenient and considerate place to park, and frankly I've parked there myself on other days, but have never been told off about it. Now I'm wondering if this is a case where I have been inconsiderate (or behaved in a rechtswidrige fashion), or whether this is just a case of one of those stereotypical cranks going around, telling people off even though they haven't a (metaphorical) leg to stand on.

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The latter.

 

From my link:

 

 

•OVG Münster v. 30.01.2009:

Ein Verkehrsteilnehmer behindert einen anderen nur dann, wenn er dessen beabsichtigtes Verkehrsverhalten mit einer gewissen Nachhaltigkeit beeinträchtigt oder verhindert. Ragt ein abgestelltes Fahrrad nur 70 cm in eine 6,25 m breite Gehwegfläche hinein, ist genügend Platz für Fußgänger - auch in der Gruppe, mit Gehhilfe oder mit Gepäck – und Rollstuhlfahrer vorhanden, um den fraglichen Bereich zügig und ohne nennenswerte Abweichung von der beabsichtigten Wegrichtung zu passieren.

 

 

decision by the Administrative Appeals Court in Münster, dated 30 Jan. 2009:

A person participating in public traffic only obstructs others if he impedes or prevents such others' intended behavior in public traffic with a certain infringement. If a parked bicycle protrudes mere 70 cm into a sidewalk that is 6.25 m wide there is enough room for pedestrians - singly or as a group, with walking aid or baggage - or a wheelchair to pass the area in question quickly and without a significant detour from the intended line of passage.

Meaning that if you can walk in a straight line or only have to swerve slightly to avoid an obstacle said obstacle is not obstructing your path and you can follow the narrow path of righteousness without turning into a pedant.

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