Sunday, January 10, 2010


Germans Make Communal Action re Icy Pavements a Legal Obligation

Locked in the deep freeze we now learn the unnerving news that if we do rouse ourselves to clear the pavement in front of our houses, we might be liable for injuries subsequently incurred by pedestrians using that particular bit of pavement; the linked article explains:

Under current legislation, householders and companies open themselves up to legal action if they try to clear a public pavement outside their property. If they leave the path in a treacherous condition, they cannot be sued. Councils, who have a responsibility for public highways, say they have no legal obligation to clear pavements. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents expressed its disappointment that public safety was being neglected because of fears of possible litigation. A spokesman said: “This is not showing a particularly good attitude. It would be much safer for the public to clear paths, even if it’s not on their property.”

My sister who lives in Bavaria tells me the opposite is true of Germany where every householder has a legal obligation to clear their pavements before 7.0am or face a fine. So you have to get up with the (frozen) lark and get shovelling and so do your nieghbours. Similar rules apply regarding litter- everyone is held to have a duty to keep the pavement clean outside their houses with the result that all pavements are clear of litter or renegade items of dirt and dust.

We often criticise Germans for being authoritarian and overly precise but in this aspect of their lives- as in some others- they show that reinforcing community values with legal rules, serves the community well. Too optimistic to suppose our rulers would ever think of anything so sensible.

I remember my mother always sweeping out side the door, cleaning the pavement, you hardly ever see this anymore.

Last week the refuse lorry came the bin men throwing bags of rubbish one missed and it broke open, they just left it. walked away I phoned the council to be told it's health and safety, they cannot pick up rubbish, so I had to go out in a wheelchair to pick it up and it was not even mine.

We pay More council tax now for a service which has become piss poor a bit like this bloody government.
"We often criticise Germans for being authoritarian and overly precise"

Dear God, I can't imagine why. Slave labour with the penalty of fine, sounds decent, liberal and slipshod.

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