31 December 2011

I'm Mad

Copenhagen Bikehaven by Mellbin 2011 - 0103
I'm mad. I'm mad because the balance of our traffic laws have been upset. The problem? Tommorow traffic fines for bicyclists are going up with 50% to 100% to 160 - 200 USD.

Now, I'm not mad about higher fines for red-running or driving up a one-way street. Its dangerous - full stop. But why pepper fines for things like a missing bell, too few reflectors and moving forward at a crossing (which actually is safer)?

Copenhagen Bikehaven by Mellbin 2011 - 0092

So should people just get away with it?  No. But this is where priorities count. Fatal and serious traffic accidents are at a record low. And according to a traffic advisor at Copenhagen Municipality increased biking has played a crucial role in driving the numbers down. Now this is interesting, because most bikes in Copenhagen are in fact illegal!

Copenhagen Bikehaven by Mellbin 2011 - 0144

Especially when it comes to reflectors, few bikes have enough. Now, does that call for shelling out inflated fines to cyclists who help reduce the number of serious traffic accidents? Not to me. Try an information campaign in stead - or consider if the law actually makes sense.

Sadly, there's no hope of a roll back. But I do hope that the police will focus on the real traffic problems out there. Just think about it - the happy cyclists you see here are in fact in for anything from a 160 to 580 USD fine...

Copenhagen Bikehaven by Mellbin 2011

Happy Cycling & a Happy New Year!


leftbanker said...

Ugh. The police here in Valencia, España are on a rampage against cyclists for basically the same things you mention. To me they are solving a problem that never existed. Cyclists aren't the problem; we are the solution. Everything about cycling is positive. Valencia needs to worry more about brutish behavior on the part of drivers. Trying to deter bike theft would also be a novel venture for local police. I'm not even sure that stealing a bike is illegal here because it is so common.

kfg said...

"Try an information campaign in stead - or consider if the law actually makes sense."

OK, maybe I'm just a bit thicker than usual this morning, but how is that going help infuse the police with a sense of authoritative power and a fear of them among the ordinary basically law abiding citizen cyclists while simultaneously enhancing the revenue stream?

Anonymous said...

Most of the problems that are now being addressed with the higher fines, are in fact either insignificant or the result of lack of passability for cyclists. Cyclists riding on sidewalks; cylists running red lights to turn right; cyclists moving forward at crossing, are all examples of cyclng still having to operate on the conditions created to facilitate car driving.

Oh, and the 1000 dkr fine for riding two on a bicycle. Come ooooon!

So yes, I share your anger. We Danes should really look to The Netherlands for a whole different attitude to traffic.

TN said...

I think you mean "reflectors". These people all seem to have pretty good reflexes :)

Franz-Michael S. Mellbin said...

Now I'm also mad about being confused (LOL)! "Reflectors" it is (now changed accordingly). Thanks.

Anonymous said...

what a 'legal bike' now?

Alan Todd said...

This happened in Victoria (Australia) a couple of years ago, and the cops just went apeshit fining cyclists for everything. It really is mental over here, and I am so saddened to find out that you have emerging similar problems in Denmark. You must fight it at every step, without compromise. Of course your sample cyclist would be fined a further $150 here for not wearing a helmet. Next it will be reflective vests.

Anonymous said...

I don't think any of my 4 bikes here in Copenhagen are 'legal' but they have got me around safely for 7 years.

The fines are all ridiculous...not sure which my least favourite is but that 'no turning right on red'
(even when safe to do so) and for missing a bell must lead the pack.

I'd call for a campaign of civil disobedience but I can't afford it ;+)