Bonn · Residents are obliged to remove leaves and foliage around their properties. Cyclists are annoyed that this often does not happen.
Cyclists do not have an easy time in the autumn. Fallen leaves that are swept off the pavement often end up on the cycle path. "I don't experience any sense of wrong-doing when I point this out," says Margret Hüffer, who often cycles around town. She responded to the previous GA article about fallen leaves. The people she approaches would never have a go at her, but their reactions are rather evasive: "I don't have time", "I know, but there's so much lying around anyway, they'll surely be picked up at some point", "it's not so bad" or "it's only a little bit".
As a cyclist, she knows how dangerous it can be to ride over wet leaves. Braking at junctions can be life-threatening under certain circumstances, she says. " I have actually slipped several times on wet leaves, but fortunately I only got my clothes dirty and once I twisted my foot.” An acquaintance who fell off her bicycle in Kessenich suffered worse, she said.
Eva Graßhoff had also read the article. "A fortnight ago I saw a lady sweeping leaves onto the street," she reported. She was riding her bike and thought about getting off to talk to the lady. "But I didn't want to come over as a smart-ass." A dilemma that plays into the hands of people like that home- owner: If you don't talk to them, they'll probably go on like this forever. Graßhoff then rode on and felt annoyed. She also has an acquaintance who broke her calf bone when she drove through a pile of leaves and fell off. That was not long ago. Leaves that are swept onto the road usually end up on the cycle path. Anyone who does something like that to get Bonnorange to deal with it is reckless and ignorant, she thinks. "I don't like that kind of attitude. Especially since the city of Bonn offers many opportunities to redistribute the leaves, for example to cemeteries.”
In many cases, it is possible to switch to the road. But not on the cycle path along the shops on Clemens-August-Strasse in Poppelsdorf, because it runs between parked cars and the pedestrian path which is covered over with archways in many places. Apparently, nobody cleans up there, although according to the street cleaning regulations this is part of the residents' duties. The people of Poppelsdorf are apparently used to this and take it calmly. "You just have to be careful," says one cyclist. This also applies to the cycle path on the Godesberg Brunnenallee leading out of the town.
The city would be better off sweeping its own doorstep, writes one reader on the GA Facebook page. So let's have a look: On Thursday there were at least no large accumulations of leaves in the area around the Stadthaus. But municipal facilities include schools and cemeteries, for example. Not far from the Stadthaus is the Marienschule where leaves could be seen on the footpath, as well as on the pavement on Bornheimer Straße in front of the old cemetery. However, the city cannot be everywhere at once. After all, on Friday, municipal staff were out clearing the paths with leaf blowers in the Godesberg Redoutenpark and at the Draitschbrunnen.
Employees from the public order office also make sure that street cleaning regulations are observed when they are out and about, the press office informs. "The basic principle is that punishment is only possible if the perpetrators are found immediately when the offences are committed". This does not happen very often. If they do catch people, "they are firstly urged to comply with their duties". If necessary, a “penalty payment” of up to 150 euros may be imposed. "The primary aim is not to impose fines, but to eliminate the dangers posed by (wet) leaves as quickly as possible".
Another Facebook user warns that "in times when it has long since become clear that we urgently and inevitably need to do more for our environment", leaves should be left where they do not pose a danger, instead of being dumped in the organic waste bin. This is because they are important for beetles, worms and hedgehogs. But in response to our request, Monika Hachtel from the Biostation Bonn said that leaves are useless on asphalt and stones. "It would make sense where there is earth underneath." But the beetles and hedgehogs would not be in the places where people walk or drive, she explained.
Her tip: Don't throw the leaves in the bin but pile them up in the garden - a front garden would also be suitable, according to the qualified biologist. "If you want to do something for the animals, you should gather up the leaves in the garden to form a big pile.”
Street cleaning regulations - What residents are legally obliged to do
The Bonn street cleaning regulations (Bonner Straßenreinigungssatzung) prescribe that leaves, foliage and snow must be removed from outside your own front door to prevent accidents. Since the beginning of 2013, the cleaning has been a matter for Bonnorange. They have categorised the city’s streets into cleaning classes, ranging from A0.5, mainly small streets and cul-de-sacs, to D14, including for example Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz. In class A, residents have to clean both the pavements - including combinations of footpaths and cycle paths - and the streets themselves. In cleaning class B, Bonnorange is responsible for street cleaning, while the owners of the adjacent buildings are responsible for the pavement. In class C, residents only have to carry out winter road maintenance on the pavement, i.e. clearing tracks and spreading salt on slippery surfaces. In class D, Bonnorange carries out all services. The street cleaning contributions for the residents depend on the cleaning class as well as the frequency of the cleaning. For more information (in German only) visit: www.bonnorange.de/stadtreinigung/faq
(Original text: Stefan Knopp, Translation: Caroline Kusch)