Driving on Wald un Flurwege - what law am I breaking?

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Around where I live are lots and lots of forest access and farm access roads, you've all seen them, the ones that go between fields and into and around forests that hunters, farmers, walkers, cyclists and foresters use.

 

In and in the immediate vicinity of the village I live in the villagers use these all the time as cut throughs, or just to drive out and park up to walk their dogs etc

 

I talked to my neighbour who said that there was no real problem using them unless it was a busy time for farmers and you cause them problems. 

 

I used to use them a lot of a lot of a night time when my youngest daughter was very young to drive her around and get her to sleep, because they were very peaceful and no street lights.

 

I also use them a lot for "green laning" on my trail bike, I've passed farmers, workers and I've always waved and they always waved back and never had any issues.

 

Today a woman who had just parked up to walk her dog began screaming at me, literally screaming at the top of her lungs as I, very slowly and carefully, drove by her.  I managed to pick up something along the lines of "you're not supposed to be here!" and I duly ignored her and continued driving.

 

First of all, what exactly is the deal with these roads?  are they "private"? because I have observed them being built by city workers so I would assume they are paid for by taxes and not individual farmers, but I don't really know.  Secondly, on some of the roads going into the network of trails I sometimes drive on there are signs saying no entry to normal traffic, but they are not everywhere and to get to where I drove today I didn't pass a single sign saying no admittance, but where I come out near my village there is a sign.

 

So what law, or social convention am I breaking here and what kind of consequences could I be facing in the worst case scenario?

 

As ever, thanks in advance.

 

D

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What road signs are involved?  And why do like these routes compared to normal roads?  Is it because they are less crowded?  But if you follow that through, and every vehicle can use them, can you not work out how self defeating it is?

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So I don't use them so often at all, I use them to drive up to the top of the hill next to the village I live in with my daughters, it affords you a really nice view out over the Main, local villages and the sand quarry lakes nearby, easily one of the best views in the area. 

 

If im taking them up there I do it directly from picking them up, so I drive in from an access point near the kindergarte (where there are no signs) and then exit right into the village I live in. It could be used as an alternative route, but it would be out of the way and pretty pointless. 

 

Im not dim enough to miss your point, you're absolutely right, I don't over use these trails, nor do I use them as normal routes, just to access an area of outstanding natural beauty with my girls, so it sort of irks me that soneone would take issue with me, to the point that they would scream at me while I'm in the company of my young daughters. 

 

I'm just trying to find out what law I'm breaking, how bad the consequences are and who actually pays for those roads. 

 

The road signs involved are the "landwirtschaftlicher Verkehr frei" that are posted at some, but not all entrances. 

 

So far as I can see the type of vehicle and destination are irrelevant, it is the purpose of the journey that is the deciding factor, for example a farmer could use his family car to drive to his fields in agricultural pursuits, but that same farmer would be breaking the law if he used it as a short cut to go to the shops in his tractor. Access is also permissible, which I assume my use of the roads in this instance falls into, whether or not I have explicit permission to be where I require access would be a separate, civil matter, so far as I can tell. 

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These landshaft and forest worker roads are everywhere here in the harz. You do not see anyone using them except forest workers and some state and city vehicles, some farmers. Many small roads start unposted and end with forest and landshaft signs. Eveyone parks there and walks the rest of the way to the good views. Also anglier frei roads are intended access for residents that live there for access not others. I am not sure what the fine or violation would be for using them but I am sure ther would be one

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1 hour ago, DaringD said:

 

 

The road signs involved are the "landwirtschaftlicher Verkehr frei" that are posted at some, but not all entrances. 

 

That appears to me to be only half of the sign. The unspoken part, I imagine, reads 'no vehicles'. Then the bit, as posted, 'except for agricultural traffic'

 

White disc with red outline?

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2 hours ago, HH_Sailor said:

 

That appears to me to be only half of the sign. The unspoken part, I imagine, reads 'no vehicles'. Then the bit, as posted, 'except for agricultural traffic'

 

White disc with red outline?

 

Yes, sorry, I had actually meant to post a photo of the sign but then got carried away and forgot.

 

The red border, no access for these vehicle types part of the sign is actually largely irrelevant now from when they were first put up as I pointed out in my reply before, the type of vehicle matters not at all, the purpose of the journey is what matters according to all the literature I was able to find tonight.

 

For example:

 

A farmer who owns land accessible by these roads has no more right to use it to park his car on and then take his dogs for a walk, as anyone else has, they may be used by any vehicle if the purpose of the journey is to access the property for purposes of agriculture. That would not include walking a dog or taking your daughters to a pretty spot.

 

I was able to find out that the fine is 25 Euros, so actually, it's about the same as getting caught speeding and slightly more expensive than not wearing a helmet on a motorcycle, which insanely is 15 Euros.

 

Anyway, my point is that the women who screamed at me had taken her car and parked it beside the road and was walking her dog away from the car as I drove by, so I think the situation is that she does own land up there, or is related to someone who does, and decided that this gives her the right to use it as she pleases, but not anybody else, when the actual fact is that she has no driving up there to park and walk her dogs - if that IS what she is doing, I am making an assumption.  But then so was she when she screamed at me.

 

3 hours ago, snowingagain said:

OK so no signage. Are you quite sure?  

 

absolutely, I actually always check to see if there have been any new ones put up whenever I pass, but I have never seen one from the way I enter (which is mostly why I only ever really enter from that end, having plausible deniability).

 

3 hours ago, lunasuenos said:

Eveyone parks there and walks the rest of the way to the good views.

 

There are a lot of roads exactly as you describe, and some of them it would just feel totally wrong to drive down, so I don't, but where there is no sign I'm happy to roll, it's Germany after all, right and wrong are not a consideration, but what is and is not allowed.

 

As for parking and walking up the hill, I would do this is the girls where older, but right now it's a bit too much for either of them to make it all the way up, hence why I even thought to drive up there in the first place. Also in the summer I was up there when the guy who owns the bit of land we park near was there ( i sort of eluded to this earlier when talking about permission and access) and he specifically told me that I was fine to park where I do, but to make sure I kept another part of the road clear, then he pointed out a great place to fly kites on his land and said I as long as we did not leave trash or tear up the grass we were good to go.I wouldn't explain any of this if anyone but the police asked me about it though as it's frankly none of any one else's business.

 

I think the whole incident today was a simple case of a person with a sense of entitlement over and above anybody else getting angry because she didn't like that other people could enjoy the area that she thought she had exclusive access to.  I rather hope that is the case actually, nothing makes me happier than bursting those kind of people's bubbles.

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I´d have stopped and asked her what made her think you aren´t entitled to be on that road. A possible explanation might be that access to this road is indeed blocked, but that the sign at one end of it has been lost or damaged. That was the case close to where I used to live. The sign was taken down by some idiots and thrown into the grass next to the pole so that you couldn´t see it. After half a year or so I reported it and it was put up again. Or it could be there but hidden behind tree branches overgrowing it.

 

8 hours ago, DaringD said:

what exactly is the deal with these roads?  are they "private"?

That´s possible but quite rare (at least where I used to live). In that case there would usually be a sign saying so.

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I suffer with mental health problems that can cause me anger management issues, stopping and asking what the problem was would not have been a great idea for me, especially if the other party are already enraged. I haven't had an issue yet in ten years of being in Germany, so avoiding direct and already sescalted confrontation is very important for me, debate is fine, but as soon as I detect aggression I have a tendancy to fight fire with fire, not really the example I want to set for my daughters or expose others to. 

 

I think I'll go and find the records of what streets are what, I have no idea where I would find such things but it would be a very interesting side project. 

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Maybe this place can help: https://www.stadt.bamberg.de/B%C3%BCrgerservice/Rathaus-Service/Dienstleistungen/Gemeindestra%C3%9Fen-Wege-und-Pl%C3%A4tze-Widmung.php?object=tx,2730.2.1&ModID=10&FID=329.3339.1&NavID=2730.234&La=1&ort=&sfwort=1

 

Quote

 

Community roads, paths and squares; dedication
A dedication is the decree by which a street is given the status of a public street.

 

Description
When a road is newly built, it is always a private road in the legal sense. This applies regardless of the owner or the size of the road. The dedication allows everyone to use the road and classifies the road in a road class.

 

The dedication of municipal roads, paths and squares is decreed by the municipality and made public. The dedication can also stipulate that traffic areas are only used by the public to a limited extent (e.g. pedestrian or cyclist traffic).

 

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

 

It might be a good idea to visit the Rathaus in person and inquire there. Or better still, here maybe (Straßen- und Wegerecht):

https://www.landkreis-bamberg.de/Landratsamt/Verwaltung/Landratsamt-A-Z/Bauen/Bauen-im-Landkreis-Bamberg/Stra%C3%9Fen-und-Wegerecht.php?object=tx,2892.2&ModID=10&FID=2892.196.1

Quote

 

Enquiries
Enquiries (not legal advice) informal or on the occasion of a personal meeting.

A precise description of the facts of the case is required, preferably with a map of the area and the desired objective. In addition, it should be clear beyond doubt to which class of road the affected traffic area belongs (developed or undeveloped public field and forest path)

 

 

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29 minutes ago, DaringD said:

I think I'll go and find the records of what streets are what, I have no idea where I would find such things

 


Your municipality will know.

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Hang on a minute, whilst it's not nice to be told off by someone, surely the only question from your is: am I allowed to drive on roads which are marked as being closed to motor vehicles except "Land und Forstwirtschaft frei"? The answer is: No you can't drive your car on them, unless you are involved in farming/forestry. 

 

The fact that the person who shouted out you might also not be allowed to use their car there, is a red herring. There could be any number of reasons why they are allowed to use the path: perhaps they are bee keepers on their way to their hives, or the farmer returning to their shed etc. Or perhaps they simply have double-standards! 

 

Some of the signs also have an "anlieger frei" sign beneath the main sign: there's one by me. That means that I can drive down that particular path to get to my house, as can people who are coming to visit me.

 

Very occasionally the police (I've noticed them only a couple of times over the last few years) set up shop at the top one of those paths which folk used to use as a back route into our village, and they will fine the drivers.  

 

You are right that those paths are often in lovely bits of countryside. Without wishing to sound too German, people wanting to ignore the signs just so they can drive into the middle of that area, rather than park their cars where allowed and walk along the path, ruin the paths for the people who are using them for the correct purpose.

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Seems like it also depends on the state. I found this on wikipedia: 

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wirtschaftsweg (translated with deepl)

Restriction of use
In Baden-Württemberg, field paths are dedicated to public use, but only as a limited public path for the cultivation of adjacent agricultural and forestry land. It can be reported as an administrative offence if a field path is used without a special use permit. There is no need for a separate road blockage by means of traffic signs, as the field paths are already blocked due to their being designated as a restricted public road.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, farm tracks are not dedicated as public roads or paths, but remain private roads, even if they have become the property of the town or municipality in the meantime. It is assumed that service roads originally (some in the division of communal areas at the beginning of the 19th century) arose from the ownership of the adjacent plots of land and are still intended for their use.

 

When there is a sign, there is a fine of 25 €, as you found out. Near my parents, there is a farm track which some people liked using as a shortcut to the next village. Or when drunk. Police used to do checks once or twice a year and give out tickets (or, in one memorable case, take away drivers license after a drunken "car chase" which lasted less than a 1 km. The drunk driver ended up in the ditch before the police had even turned their car around IIRC). 

 

If the roads are not restricted, most farmers don't mind if locals drive up to enjoy the view or walk their dogs. What they do mind is

- vehicles blocking the track esp. during harvesting or planting season

- people hindering them doing their work

- cyclists not letting traktors and machinery through

- people parking on their fields

- people leaving trash

- people letting their dogs run free in freshly seeded fields or vegetable fields 

- know-it-alls shouting at them that they are poisoning the planet while the farmer is trying to spray a field

- city-dwellers who want to spend time in nature and do all of the above. 

 

Since you live in the area and have already made contact with the famers (i.e. smile and wave), your're fine. They know you, they know you behave and have no objections. Otherwise you would have already heard about it. Trust me :-) 

 

I would suggest only using the tracks when your destination is actually the fields though and not for any other purposes. 

 

 

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Bramble - an amazing post with lots of information that I already found super helpful, thank you so much!

 

3 hours ago, dstanners said:

surely the only question from your is: am I allowed to drive on roads which are marked as being closed to motor vehicles except "Land und Forstwirtschaft frei"? The answer is: No you can't drive your car on them, unless you are involved in farming/forestry. 

 

Actually this is wrong, access is also permitted by any vehicle to get to a piece of land if you have business being there.

 

My problem here is someone who I just watched get out of their car and begin to walk their dog screaming at me for not being allowed to be there, when they themselves are not meant to be there, and especially when I haven't passed a sign to tell me I shouldn't be there. I could have been anybody, with any kind of business, or not, but the fact is that it's none of her business - of course I cannot stop her being curious about my presence there, but I would say screaming at me as she did was totally uncalled for. When I drive there I take extra care, I make sure I am very polite and engage people who may want to ask me why I'm there in a polite manner - this was how I came to talk with the land owner who said it was fine to use his land.

 

I talked with one of my neighbours earlier (who is related to almost everyone in the village in some way) who is a very jovial chap and never really has a bad word to say about anybody, when I mentioned this he seemed to know exactly who it was I was talking about and it would seem my guess was pretty spot on, her dad owns about half of the land up there and she likes to think of it as her own private estate, so she gets very angry when us commoners pass through, apparently she's even been known to tell cyclists and dog walkers not to use the roads there and has threatened local kids with calling the police (but this is actually not such a bad thing, as a kid you need this kind of thing in your life, the crazy lady on the hill).

 

Maxie - I agree with you on all of the points, I'm really careful not to push my luck and I'm very respectful when using these trails, especially on my bike, taking care not to damage the road surface or kick up dust in the summer, more than I can say for most farmers who will insist on dragging tons of mud out onto the public highway (which is seriously dangerous if you happen to be riding a sports bike).

 

In all I think what got under my skin here was not the knowledge that I was doing something technically wrong and was called out on it, but the way that she was such a cretin about it, now I'm going to have to find inventive and clever ways of trolling the shit out of this women who thinks she can go around screaming at people because daddy owns land, and I think I'm just going to stop using those roads entirely now by car. Seeing as it is winter I won't want to go up there and by next year I think the girls will be old enough to make it up there under their own steam.  The next thing to do is to find out at what point a bicycle or a little bollerwagen become classed as a vehicle, I have an idea that I could make myself a nice electric bicycle sidecar with an attachment for a bollerwagen, that would mean I could legally cycle up there with the girls on the bike and our kit in the wagen.

 

Thank you all for your input! as ever

 

D

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29 minutes ago, dstanners said:

If you want to get yourself and daughters into the countryside straight away, leave the car on the proper roads and get yourself one of these fellas:

 

 

Bwooaaahh!  yes, if only I had a spare 5k lay around with nothing to do!

 

these things were actually my inspiration, but I come from a family of sidecar racers and I've always wanted to make a cool pushbike version, I was just looking and found that you can buy E bike wheels with the motor fitted, you just have to change them for the wheel on the back and fit the rest of the gubbins and you're away, I'm tempted to buy two of them and have both rear wheels powered, I could probably build something like that for about 5 of 6 hundred Euros myself, that would definitely be enough my me, the girls and a Bollerwagen in tow, it'd be great.

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13 minutes ago, DaringD said:

Bwooaaahh!  yes, if only I had a spare 5k lay around with nothing to do!

If hills involved, worthwhile having extra brakes too, downhill can get a bit too exciting otherwise.

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Good point, Snow. Extra brakes before he rides into his psychologist.

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1 hour ago, DaringD said:

My problem here is someone who I just watched get out of their car and begin to walk their dog screaming at me for not being allowed to be there, when they themselves are not meant to be there, and especially when I haven't passed a sign to tell me I shouldn't be there. I could have been anybody, with any kind of business, or not, but the fact is that it's none of her business - of course I cannot stop her being curious about my presence there, but I would say screaming at me as she did was totally uncalled for. 

 

Ah, 

welcome to Germany

:D

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27 minutes ago, McDee said:

Good point, Snow. Extra brakes before he rides into his psychologist.

 

Yeah, arriving at my psychologist through the front window on a reverse trike with my kids in the front is something I simply cannot afford to have happen again!

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