Private roads are most important for outdoor recreation and for our ability to actually make use of the Right of Public Access. They can take us to swimming lakes, fishing waters, berry-picking grounds and other favourite spots.
Vehicle traffic can cause severe wear on private roads, and owners therefore have the right to ban motor-vehicle traffic. However, they are not allowed to prohibit people from walking, cycling or riding horses along their road unless damage would be caused.
Motor vehicles are all vehicles propelled by an engine or motor, including cars, motorcycles, mopeds, tractors, engineering vehicles, snowmobiles and cross-country trucks.
If a road owner has declared his road closed to motor vehicles, this must be clearly indicated by road signs or other means. A boom may be placed across the road, but a road sign should be put up as well for clarity. Even a home-made sign must be observed.
The reason why road owners are allowed to close their roads to motor vehicles is that it is not reasonable for them to have to pay for the repair of damage caused by other people using their road.
Road owners are only allowed to close their roads to motor vehicles – they cannot prohibit people from walking, cycling or riding horses. Non-motor traffic can be prohibited under local traffic regulations, but this is unusual.
Roads outside built-up areas are governed by local traffic regulations issued by the county administrative board. Roads in built-up areas are administered by the local municipality.
The same parking rules apply on private roads as on other roads. If the owner wishes to further regulate parking, they can do so through local traffic regulations.
In some cases a landowner may prohibit or restrict parking on their road by virtue of the Illegal Parking Fines Act.
Except with a permit from the municipality, a landowner must not put up a sign to exclude the public from an area of significance for outdoor recreation. A private road must not be posted with signs prohibiting walking or cycling, and normally not with signs prohibiting horse riding.
Road signs to implement local traffic regulations in built-up areas are erected by the municipality or the regional unit of the Swedish National Road Administration. Other signs, such as warning and direction signs, are the responsibility of the landowner.
A private road whose owner receives a central or local government subsidy for its upkeep must normally be kept open to public traffic. The owner may be permitted to close the road to certain types of vehicles during the spring thaw and at other times when it is at particular risk of damage. The road may only be closed after consultation with the subsidising authority.
In the case of forest truck roads that were originally built with the aid of a Government subsidy, motor-vehicle traffic is regulated under the terms of the subsidy.