City has to pay damages

The incident happened in the summer of 2017. At that time, a Gescheraner drove on Inselstraße with his motorcycle from Hofstraße towards the city center. Although he crossed the first of the two thresholds at walking pace, the two-wheeler touched down in the middle. This resulted in significant property damage. The city’s liability insurer declined to settle. In the following legal dispute, the district court in Münster came to the conclusion that there was no right to compensation. The 11th Senate of the Hamm Higher Regional Court later saw things differently – a settlement made at the suggestion of the Higher Regional Court was revoked by the city of Gescher, so that a judgment has now been issued.

As part of its decision, the court stated: “The damage to the motorcycle is the result of a violation of the defendant’s obligation to ensure traffic safety for the traffic facility it maintains. The defendant erected the speed bump on the Inselstrasse to calm traffic, and thus created a dangerous area for motorcyclists that needed to be remedied.”

According to the court, obstacles aimed at calming traffic must on the one hand be suitable for inducing road users to drive in the desired manner, but on the other hand they must not become a source of a traffic hazard by damaging oncoming vehicles despite proper behavior on the part of the driver and thus creating an undesirable dangerous situation is caused… The fact that the motorcycle was able to touch down on the threshold already proves that it was insufficiently erected. This evaluation is supported by the provisions of the guidelines for the construction of city streets (RASt 06). Accordingly, a minimum length of the horizontal area of ​​five meters is provided for partial paving, because with such a length of paving, vehicles of all kinds are excluded. The disputed threshold on Inselstraße, on the other hand, allowed the front wheel of the plaintiff’s motorcycle to be moving down again while the rear wheel had not yet fully entered the threshold. It was therefore possible for a motorcycle with a ground clearance of around ten centimeters to land on the threshold.

The plaintiff must allow the operational risk of his motorcycle to be taken into account and must therefore bear a quarter of the damage himself. The city of Gescher bears 75 percent of the damage. The motorcyclist is not entitled to loss of use for the duration of the repair.

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