Launched by Germany’s Traffic Club (Verkehrsclub Deutschland VCD) and Clever Cities (Clevere Städte) on Monday, the campaign has meant that some cars owners have returned to their vehicles to find them covered in spray cream or balloons.
Among the list of actions the associations suggest residents can take to point out the misconduct of drivers are: talking to them, attaching balloons and signs to their side mirrors and using spray cream on their car to mark, for instance, how far into the pavement or into bike lanes they are parked.
On a busy street in Berlin’s Neukölln neighbourhood on Monday, activists used traffic cones to indicate an emergency cycle lane on a street where drivers often block the regular cycle lane.
On the street, Karl-Marx-Straße, cyclists frequently find themselves in dangerous situations when they have to weave into the lanes designated for vehicles since the bike lanes are blocked.
Karl-Marx-Straße in Berlin on Monday. Photo: DPA
Further campaigns have also been planned in Bonn, Münster, Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hanover, Darmstadt, Magdeburg, Wiesbaden and Halle.
On Twitter, users have been posting photos of cars piled up at intersections, on the shoulders of streets and on sidewalks. The VCD and Clever Cities had suggested people work together to carry falsely parked cars out of the way.
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The associations’ have also called for more checks on the cars parked incorrectly as well as higher fines. In light of few controls and €20 fines, drivers have so far accepted the risks, VCD chairman Wasilis von Rauch told RBB radioeins on Monday, demanding that the fine be raised to at least €60.
This isn’t the first time though that measures have been taken by residents to point out parking violations. Earlier this year, people in Stuttgart made headlines for calling out selfish parkers in their city in curious ways.
Even before the start of the campaign this week, on Friday an unknown man near Karlsruhe placed a 20-centimetre-long nail into the hood of a car which was parked where it wasn’t supposed to be. Investigators are now looking for witnesses who might have seen the illegal act take place, according to the police.
The German police union (GdP) meanwhile has mixed feelings about the initiative.
Despite the possible dangerous situations caused by parking offenders, activists should not violate laws, a GdP spokesperson told Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ).
"The public authorities decide which vehicles violate parking rules, not citizens," GdP legal expert Sascha Braun told SZ, adding that carrying cars away violates property rights.