In principle, the use of public roads and their components is permitted to everyone within the scope of their dedication for traffic (public use). Public use primarily includes traffic in the narrower sense, i.e. in the sense of locomotion, change of location, transport. In the case of certain public roads, especially pedestrian zones, this is supplemented by the so-called "communicative public use".
Any use that goes beyond the public use constitutes a special use. A special use permit under public law is required for special uses that are likely to impair the public use.
Special uses on public roads are extremely diverse:
- A special use permit is required, for example, for setting up sales booths, vending stands, vending machines or tables and chairs or bicycle stands, e.g. in front of restaurants.
- The same applies to the use of the street for other commercial purposes, e.g. the distribution of advertising material, the holding of sales talks, the conduct of sales transactions - even without the use of fixed sales and advertising stands as well as musical performances or so-called street art.
- Mere expressions of opinion through the distribution of writings or handbills, through conversations, etc. without technical aids such as information stands or poster stands, on the other hand, generally fall under public use. This is particularly important for political activities.
- Depending on the local conditions, the installation of advertising signs or vending machines projecting into the airspace above the street may also be assessed as special use requiring permission.
The decisive factor is always the assessment of the specific individual case. It is therefore advisable to contact the responsible road construction authority in good time.
Access roads to district and municipal roads outside the built-up area are also considered special uses under public law.
Sports events such as rallies and bicycle races or city festivals also constitute special uses, although no special use permit is required if these already require a permit or exemption under road traffic law.
The same applies to special uses for which a building permit is required under the provisions of building law (e.g. outdoor bar areas, stationary sales stands).
The granting of a special use permit is a discretionary decision; it may only be granted for a limited period of time or may be revoked, may be subject to conditions and is usually associated with the payment of special use fees.