In the dispute over signs for a voluntary 30 km/h speed limit, Lake Constance residents initially failed: the Freiburg administrative court dismissed three lawsuits from citizens against the responsible district office on Tuesday. Essentially, the question is whether residents are allowed to appeal to drivers on their properties and with their own signs to reduce their speed in town thoroughfares.
The Konstanz district office had classified the voluntary speed limit signs as inadmissible and threatened to impose a fine. The plaintiffs from Lake Constance communities took legal action against this. They are supported by the German Environmental Aid (DUH), which wants to obtain a fundamental ruling
The DUH has now announced that it wants to seek clarification “in further legal steps”. “We first have to wait for the court’s reasons for its judgment,” said the Federal Managing Director of the environmental and consumer protection organization, Jürgen Resch. He had already signaled on Monday on the sidelines of an oral court hearing that he wanted to take the dispute to the next instance if necessary.
DUH: 30 km/h is the standard speed in urban areas
According to the DUH, it is still unclear whether citizens can use the boards to promote slow driving. “Therefore, the signs will remain standing,” it said in a statement. According to its own statements, the court will comment on the reasons for the judgment in the next few weeks - a date has not been given.
“We are calling on the federal government to finally help people who suffer from high traffic volumes, speeding and traffic noise: 30 km/h in urban areas must be the standard speed,” explained Resch. The announced reform of the Road Traffic Act presents an opportunity for this. According to additional information, the amendment to the law is intended to make it easier for municipalities to set up 30 km/h zones, cycle paths and bus lanes.
During the oral hearing, the different points of view on the voluntary 30 km/h speed limit clashed. It had already become clear during the meeting that the citizens' actions for declaratory judgment may be inadmissible. The court announced that the plaintiffs could apply to the Mannheim Administrative Court within a month to allow an appeal.
The word "Voluntary", a modeled 30 km/h speed limit sign and silhouettes of running children can be seen on the disputed boards. In the opinion of the DUH, the signs erected on the Höri peninsula on Lake Constance can be clearly distinguished from official traffic signs. The usual limit of 50 kilometers per hour applies in municipalities.
As the court announced, the local Greens association called for a “private initiative for climate protection, more traffic safety and less noise” in autumn 2021. The signs were obtained during this process and then distributed.