The German Environmental Aid (DUH) has called on citizens to report illegal parking. Numerous German cities tolerated the systematic obstruction and endangerment of pedestrians by illegal parking on sidewalks, the Hanover-based association said on Thursday. Only 26 of the 104 cities surveyed by the DUH confirmed that they consistently punished illegal parking on sidewalks. Municipalities such as Göttingen, Magdeburg, Mainz or Aachen endanger people with walkers, wheelchairs or prams by allowing parked, unusable sidewalks.
"The systematic toleration of illegal parkers on sidewalks is life-threatening and, in our view, illegal," said DUH federal manager Jürgen Resch. Cars on the sidewalk obscured the view, forcing people to swerve onto the street. With fatal consequences: in Germany, almost 10,000 people die every year in traffic accidents involving parked cars.
“If more and more people are now taking photos of illegal parkers and reporting disabilities, that is nothing more than self-defense,” emphasized Resch. "This is exactly what we are asking people to do until the cities finally fulfill their obligation to guarantee free sidewalks."
According to the DUH, in addition to the toleration of illegal parkers, the lack of punishment with fines is also problematic. In Recklinghausen and in St. Ingbert, Saarland, illegal parkers were not fined as long as the sidewalk was "still usable" according to the city. Göttingen even states that pavement parking outside of cultivated areas is generally not penalized. In Krefeld, illegal sidewalk parking is not punished with a fine if there is high parking pressure in the area. According to the legal opinion of the DUH, this systematic non-punishment is also “clearly illegal”.