I'm driving for the first time in Europe—in Munich, Germany—and I came across an intersection where there seemed to a "main" signal above, straight ahead, and a "side" signal to the right, near the bicycle lane. This side signal had the aforementioned road sign affixed to its pole—a red circle and X on a blue background with a right-pointing arrow. I found an example on Google Images but the site itself is down so I can't learn more about it, and I can't find any other site with this road sign:

unknown road sign

Now, if this sign were standalone, there'd be less of a question about what it means. But here were my several thoughts:

  1. It was a right turn from a smaller road to a main road, so it seemed unlikely that right turns wouldn't be allowed.

  2. It was affixed to a side signal, so I thought it might mean to indicate that this side signal is a separate turn signal one should adhere to in order to make right turns (presumably to protect bicyclists and pedestrians).

  3. A police car behind me, which I was nervously watching while waiting at the light, turned on its right-turn signal.

Was I in the right to make that right turn? (The police didn't stop me, but I heard that you just get ticketed in the mail for violations.)

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    That means it's forbidden to stop or park, from the point you see the signal. Since it's an intersection and it has an arrow it means it's forbidden to stop or park to the right or left, depending on the arrow. – nsn Jul 1 '15 at 7:38
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Ankur Banerjee Jul 3 '15 at 9:36
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    Where's the button to close questions that can be trivially answered from reference? – Fattie Jul 5 '15 at 5:21
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    "Now, if this sign were standalone, there'd be less of a question about what it means." -> What would you have assumed? Assumptions can be pretty dangerous when travelling by car. – phresnel Aug 24 '15 at 11:10
up vote 60 down vote accepted

Provided there were no other sign or rule forbidding it, turning was perfectly fine. The red X cross on blue background means it's forbidden to stop (absolutes Halteverbot).

It's somewhat similar to the more well-known “no parking” sign, but stricter (parking is defined as leaving your vehicle or letting it stand longer than three minutes whereas this signs also covers shorter stops). Waiting because there is a traffic light, the conditions force you to come to a stop (traffic jam, emergency…) or the police orders it is explicitly allowed but stopping for any other reason (like letting someone get off your car) is not.

Arrows inside the circle are unrelated to any turn but specify the area of validity of the sign (it starts where there is a road-pointing arrow and ends where there is a an arrow pointing away from the road). In your case, and assuming the sign was placed on the right of the road, it would mean it's forbidden to stop before the sign (and the intersection).

I suspect it might have been affixed to another sign as a cost saving measure or to minimize obstruction and is completely unrelated to crossing rules for this intersection.

More details are available on Wikipedia (in German)

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    Ah, so I misinterpreted the very basic meaning of the sign to begin with—it's forbidding one to stop, not forbidding one to go one way or another. Thank you! – Andrew Cheong Jul 1 '15 at 7:46
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    Just to add: In the UK this is known as a clearway, although the signs for it seem much less common than they once were. – CMaster Jul 1 '15 at 8:15
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    @GuidoPreite No, the sign always refers to the side of the street it is on. The left arrow indicates the start of the no stop zone and an right arrow indicated that this is the end of the no stop zone. There is also one with arrows in both direction, which tells you that you are in a no stop zone and that you can neither stop directly before or after the sign. – Erik Jul 1 '15 at 8:29
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    @AndrewCheong Not quite. The two sings you linked to denote a "zone", i.e. an area in a city, inside which parking is prohibited anywhere. The sign the OP refers to denotes a section of a single road/street where stopping is prohibited on the right side of the road. The "end of zone" sign cannot terminate the unrelated Halteverbot sign of the OP. – JimmyB Jul 1 '15 at 12:23
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    The arrows make more sense if you imagine the signs facing the street. (And, indeed, they are often mounted in a somewhat angled diagonal orientation to make this easier to see.) Facing the street, one arrow would point in the driving direction and indicate "from here", the other one against the driving direction, indicating "up to here". Imagine the following ASCII art representing the right side of the street: ____________->... no stopping here ... <-__________ – Peter A. Schneider Jul 3 '15 at 11:32

Red circle means Prohibition, round signal means law-enforced (as per driving code and rules), upper left to lower right red bar means prohibition to park your vehicle (2 or more minutes and stopped engine supposes your car is parked) and upper left to lower right with a 'mirrored' lower left to upper right red bar means prohibition to park or pulling over your car(be it to get up or down your car people or things) and the white arrows indicate "from this sign up the direction the arrow is pointing".

With exception of the arrow, this sign is internationally standardized by the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals (though not all signatories use this sign) as laid down in part 1, annex 1, section C II, Nr. 9.

Standing and Parking Prohibited (sign C, 19)

  • Are those international standards for traffic signs? – Mindwin Jul 2 '15 at 13:35
  • It's the same in Russia. Except we don't have the white arrows. – Sergio Tulentsev Jul 2 '15 at 13:48
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    @Mindwin Yes, those are all laid down in the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals. Specifically the question is about sign C, 18. – neo Jul 2 '15 at 13:49
  • Can you add that info to the answer, and provide a link to that convention? It would improve the answer greatly (the comments are volatile. P.S.: @neo i only noticed after posting that you aren't the answer poster.... lolz. – Mindwin Jul 2 '15 at 13:51
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    @SergioTulentsev usually the arrows, if they exist at all, are placed in a white rectangular sign below the sign, I didn't know the germans put them on the sign itself. Also to avoid the confusion the arrows are often vertical, like this (ignore the graffiti on the double arrows in the reminding signs): sicurauto.it/upload/news_/14310/img/9382-divieto_fermata.jpg – Formagella Jul 3 '15 at 12:13

What does this road sign mean?

It means you should do at least the theory part of the german driving license before driving around there clueless.

Here are the official rules (StVO = Straßenverkehrs-Ordnung):

https://www.juris.de/purl/gesetze/_ges/StVO

You should know them before even starting the car engine on a parking lot.

I would never drive in another country without getting familiar with the rules there, even if it's a similar country like Austria or Switzerland, there are such big differences, that they might cost lives.

To the question: The sign means no stopping, the arrows indicate the direction in which stopping is not allowed.

Usually the signs are parallel to the road, so the direction is clear. If you have a no stopping sign facing you while you drive, below a traffic light or such, imagine it rotated to the street.

A sign without arrows facing you means from here on, rotated to the side, it is usually a reminder for people who missed the start of the no stopping area. There's also those with two arrows.

That's already pretty complicated and that was only one sign. We have a lot more of those. Imagine additional signs for hours, types of vehicles and parking tickets. When do you need to buy one, when is it allowed to park, and so on.

Then there's people who do dangerous stuff like a full braking because of a speed limit that only applies to trucks with dangerous chemicals, suprising all the normal drivers behind them. And yes, that's the normal mode in germany, without a reason a car does not brake just for fun or without indicating it before.

It's just foolish to assume you will figure it out while driving, learn it before you start.

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    So I take it, you have either never driven in Austria or Switzerland or if you have, you have memorised all of these and these as well as the whole road code for both countries? On another note, this should probably be a comment as it really doesn't answer the question. – drat Jul 3 '15 at 0:53
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    Usually someone with local knowledge is driving me around, but yes, If i were to drive myself, I would learn those. Just like I learned the german system to drive here. Are you suggesting you would not because it is too complicated? How would you figure it out when you came in a dangerous situation? – guest Jul 3 '15 at 2:02
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    I always thought airports should sell or give away little booklets "German traffic rules for Americans", "German traffic rules for British" etc. (obviously the other way round in other countries), explaining not the complete rule set, but the differences. – gnasher729 Jul 3 '15 at 10:35
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    the signs are set by the vienna convention so there's no need to learn them anew. You just need to know them in the first place to get your driving license. A refresh might be useful because some might be uncommon in your country. I think the most critical for americans is that you can't overtake on the right and that the motorway lanes are overtaking lanes, not fast or slow lanes. – Formagella Jul 3 '15 at 12:17
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    @Formagella, the U.S. is not a signatory to the Vienna convention, so many Americans would have to learn them from zero. – Peter Taylor Jul 4 '15 at 19:52

No stopping. (The small arrow points to where you can't stop.)

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    Low quality answer, and there are enough long answers explaining it much better. – Willeke Jul 3 '15 at 16:46
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    I was making a point. It's an incredible simple question, which can be answered fully in two words. Furthermore, it should probably have just been closed anyway, since the answer is absolutely instantly available in reference. – Fattie Jul 3 '15 at 18:28
  • But the part in the brackets is not even correct. The arrow indicates whether it is the start or the end of the no stopping zone. For example, if you have the sign on the right hand of the road and the arrow points left, it does not mean you are not allowed to park on the left side of the road. – Erik Aug 24 '15 at 7:26
  • Hi Erik, right, the small arrow points to the "section of the road" where you can't stop (not "which side"). As you say "either the start or the end of the no-stopping-zone". – Fattie Aug 24 '15 at 12:11

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