More journeys by bike than even the Dutch
Last year, while still trying to squeeze all the Heineken out of my system following a trip to Holland, I commented that the Dutch make proportionally more journeys by bicycle than anybody else. And the prevailing view, fuelled no doubt by a bit of national stereotyping, is very much that the bike is supreme as far as transport goes in the flat country. So, I was slightly surprised to read recently that the number of commuter journeys in the Danish city of Copenhagen is vastly in excess of anything the Dutch can muster (and obviously, therefore, exponentially greater than anything in the UK). The numbers are impressive – in Greater Copenhagen, 37% of all commutes are by bike; that rises to 55% in the city itself – pretty impressive, given the climate and topography, which would no doubt be trotted out if such a statistic were presented to British commuters.
Such it was that took me via a hyperlink to Copenhagenize.com, a blog that charts the cycling and commuting scene in the Danish capital. I liked it immediately, not only because of its seasonal infatuation with snow blowers, but also because of its predilection for a strong opinion.
Amongst the articles currently in discussion on the site are various perspectives from other locations around the globe, plus some interesting culturally specific Danish stuff. Such as, for example, the Danish (and Dutch) concept of Strict Liability. With Strict Liability, it’s always the motorist at fault when they collide with vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists. The main points of Strict Liability are as follows – the first one being the most depressing:
– The UK is only one of four Western European countries that doesnt have ‘strict liability’ to protect cyclists and pedestrians.
– Strict liability entitles a crash victim to compensation unless the driver can prove the cyclist or pedestrian was at fault.
– Strict liability encourages more careful driving (and cycling, because a cyclist would be deemed to be at fault for crashing into a pedestrian).
– Strict liability would be a matter of civil rather than criminal law so would not affect criminal prosecutions.
What’s also quite interesting is the ongoing investigation into the pro-car and anti-public transport agenda that is being advanced by car makers all over the world. The degree of aggression toward non car road users is considerable, and there are some interesting articles there by people who are not afraid to be overtly political as far as their cycling goes. Put it this way, I can’t see this being a site on the idiot Clarkson’s ‘favourites’ bar…..