Local winter regulations keep patrons safe

by Airman 1st Class Ciara M. Travis
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

With winter weather quickly approaching, it’s time to be more aware of the local regulations and laws concerning snow and its removal.

It’s safe to say the more prepared you are, the better. First, start by checking your housing rental agreement. Usually, homeowners turn over the task of clearing the sidewalk of ice and snow to the renters. If not specified on the contract, double check with your landlords on the responsibility of clearing pathways for pedestrians.

As soon as there is danger of black ice or snow, tenants must toss sand, gravel or, in worse cases, salt on walkways. Most communities do not allow the use of salt to remove snow and ice because it can damage the environment and pavement. To check on your communities regulation concerning ice removal, contact your city’s office of public order.

“On weekdays, it is expected the sidewalk stays clear between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. During the weekends, patrons have the option to wait till 9 a.m. to begin clearing their sidewalks,” said Michael Brehm, chief of the Weilerbach Office of Public Order. “If residents are unable to clear their sidewalks due to work or vacation, they must find an alternate.”

Brehm also said it’s not necessary to begin shoveling until the snow has stopped falling.

If a pedestrian gets hurt due to a sidewalk not being properly cleared, the house owners or renters can be held liable. They could then be held responsible for medical treatment, compensations and sometimes even a fine.

Keeping sidewalks and driveways clear of ice and snow is just a small piece of the puzzle to keep in mind this winter. Americans must abide by the local regulations to keep everyone safe.

Another regulation different to that of the states is, in Germany, it is illegal to let the vehicle idle to warm up during the winter. This means, it might be necessary to bundle up more in the mornings to keep warm during the freezing temperatures.

“We’ve also gotten a lot of complaints about American neighbors running their vehicles to warm them up before they drive. This is illegal in Germany due to pollution laws and noise-protection laws,” Brehm said.