Road traffic regulations: Federal Council argues over speed limit and traffic rules

Road traffic regulations: Federal Council argues over speed limit and traffic rules

With the amendment to the Road Traffic Regulations, Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer wants to make road traffic more bicycle-friendly. The Federal Council will decide on this Friday. The committees of the Federal Council recommend more than 70 changes – and could even introduce a speed limit of 130 km / h through the back door and at the same time make the design significantly less bike-friendly in some places.

If the Federal Council decides on changes to the draft, the Federal Government would have to implement them in order to be able to implement the regulation. However, it can also withdraw the regulation. The most important issues at a glance:

Initially, no general speed limit was planned in the draft, but this changed with an application from Bremen and Berlin, which was approved by the Environment Committee. The application is justified with the "harmonization of Europe-wide traffic conditions" as well as lower emissions and greater traffic safety.

"There were more than 400 fatalities on the motorways in 2018, a not insignificant part of which was due to increased speed," said Bremen Senator for Environment and Mobility, Maike Schaefer. Lower speeds reduce both the risk of serious accidents and the severity of their consequences.

However, the decision is not certain, because the plenary must approve the proposal. "We expect a scarce result," said Senator Schaefer. However, the Union is largely against a speed limit and some countries will not commit themselves. So Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Thuringia told the "MDR"you want to abstain.

Cyclists were originally supposed to be allowed to ride side by side in the future, provided that they do not hinder the flow of traffic – however, the Committee on Internal Affairs wants to delete this passage.

The Committee fears that this could hinder the flow of traffic. Previous experience suggests that "cyclists cannot judge a far-reaching disability adequately". According to this, there are already cyclists riding next to each other who do not take into account or deliberately accept a disability in the rest of the traffic.

The distance to the side when overtaking cyclists, pedestrians and e-scooters should actually be made binding in the amendment to the road traffic regulations: at least 1.5 meters in urban areas, at least two in out-of-town areas. The Interior Committee of the Federal Council considers this to be "inappropriate" because a sufficient distance is influenced by the respective traffic situation, the speed conditions and the infrastructure.

That would "preclude any overtaking" of the three groups "from the outset". Instead, the distance should in future only be "usually" 1.5 meters in urban areas and also "usually" at least two meters out of town, even if they drive on protective and cycle lanes. If the speed falls short, you should overtake with moderate speed and special caution.

The spokeswoman for the German Road Safety Council, Julia Fohmann, explains that the new regulation would be a deterioration compared to the previous road traffic regulations: "According to case law, there is currently a safety distance of 1.5 meters in town and two meters out of town. With the new wording, it would be perfectly fine to reduce the distance – regardless of the previous case law. " This has little to do with a bicycle-friendly amendment to the road traffic regulations, says Fohmann.

Those who do not form a rescue alley should originally be punished with a one-month driving ban. The ADAC also called for this tightening. The Federal Council's Legal Committee was apparently not very taken with the idea.

As long as there is no disability, danger or property damage, the driving ban is not appropriate since such violations are often not deliberate. Instead, such cases should only be punished with a driving ban if a rescue operation is actually hindered. That is appropriate and sufficient.

Cars with more than three occupants should also be able to use the bus lane in the future, provided that the municipalities allow this with a new traffic sign at the respective points. The Federal Government wants to create an incentive to leave your own car and to create carpools and thus relieve the other lanes.

The Federal Council's Transport and Interior Committee, on the other hand, want to completely delete the regulation. Because bus lanes, according to the reasoning, should accelerate public transport and make it more attractive – however, the approval for carpooling would negate this effect.

In addition, the increasing traffic on the special lanes also has a negative impact on cycling, since "they are often the only cycling route on multi-lane roads, especially in city centers". First of all, it must also be decided to what extent people who drive together with others in a vehicle should have privileges over other road users.

E-scooters parked crisscross on footpaths and bike paths quickly become a nuisance. The Federal Council's Transport Committee therefore wants to introduce a license requirement for parking the electric rental scooters, so that rental companies will need a concept for parking the vehicle in the future.

According to the committee recommendation, a service is offered with the scooters parked. Therefore, the parking of the companion does not fall under the license-free common use. However, the regulation should not apply to station-based rental models.

The Federal Ministry of Transport originally wanted to allow bicycle zones to be set up. As with Tempo 30 zones, municipalities could set up areas in which only cyclists are allowed.

The Interior Committee of the Federal Council sees a need for discussion here and recommends deleting the passage.

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