24 Jan 2016

24th January 2016 Boxing clever?

Sunday 24th  37F, +3C, breezy, overcast with thick mist. You have to laugh at America sometimes. They get a bit of hoar frost on the pavements and the whole country comes to a complete standstill! While Denmark had 16" 40cm of snow overnight, one December, which lasted until late March it hardly made the local papers. At one point the snow was over a meter deep on our roof from drifting in the strong winds. I haven't seen more than 6" of lying snow in any of the pictures or videos of the globally headlined "Snowzilla" from the eastern USA! Perhaps the snow is going to arrive today? Perhaps they couldn't afford enough snow with a costly election underway?

I see in the Danish news that four more people have died after motorists drove the wrong way onto motorways. Usually it is blamed on old age or drunkenness. Is it really beyond the wit of man that wedge shaped, white lines could be arranged on the exit ramps to hinder drivers from entering? When exiting the correct way the lines would hardly be noticed. Driving the wrong way the tyres would hit the vertical ramps and might even shake the drunks and the senile out of their stupor. The wedged lines could even be made out of rubber strips for easy replacement. Or for research into the most efficacious design of the angles and dimensions.

All vehicles in Denmark must show dipped headlights. So there could be headlight sensors on exit ramps to switch on a battery of bright yellow flashing lights when a driver tries to enter. This might offer a wake-up call every time a "ghost driver" decides that a trip down the motorway would be so much more fun in the wrong direction! Even with Danish wages it shouldn't cost a fortune to set up a few trials.

Janteloven has finally been relaxed because a Dane has re-invented bicycle only, waiting boxes at traffic lights. They've had them for years in other countries but Denmark may not have anything which has not been independently invented by a Dane. Cyclists have been dying in droves at Danish traffic lights when lorries and buses have turned across the cyclist' paths without the drivers bothering to look up from their iPhoneys. Now a few traffic lights will have trial cycle boxes marked on the roads just to see if they actually work.

Danish drivers will always have absolute right of way at traffic lights over the humble cyclist despite the vast numbers who cycle here. So it would be against the Copenhagen Convention of Driver's Absolute Right of Way to fine any motorist who has the temerity to enter the "new" cycle boxes at a red light. Janteloven will offer blanket legal protection of drivers from any likely charges anyway. So we can expect near 100% of cars, buses and lorries waiting on the new cycle boxes at red. Denmark will probably have to wait until the EU insists on a change in the law to prevent drivers from parking on the cycle boxes.

Since so many Danish drivers cross long after the lights have already turned red one can but pray that they don't actually cut across the cycle box itself. Which many might well do in their haste to gain a completely illegal speed on their exit. Meanwhile, just to add spice to the mix, it is legally required, in Denmark,  that cyclists may not turn left at traffic lights. Not even when there is no oncoming traffic, no following traffic and their exit is clear. [For those in Gravely Blighted and/or The Colonies, who cycle on the "wrong" side of the road, it is the equivalent of NOT being allowed to turn right at traffic lights.]

So, in all weather and road conditions the Danish cyclist must ride straight across at the light controlled crossing or junction. Before making a slow and wobbly U-turn in front of the waiting traffic on their right. Then hover beyond the legal, white line until the lights change. I kid you not! They then have to set off, often in an untidy gaggle, just as the waiting vehicles are unleashed allowing them all to sprint away while all getting in each other's way.

There will now be a box painted on the road, for waiting cyclists, who will all move quite naturally to the front of the box. Thereby blocking access to all those cyclists who have been forced, by Danish law, to turn right, make a wobbly U-turn and then dawdle, before they can legally go straight across. In order to to make a left turn from their original direction of travel! Only in [cycling friendly] Denmark!

Finally, for the moment, there is a call for older Danish cyclists to become more visible to motorists after dark. Kids cycle in brightly coloured clothes, often with highly reflective stripes built in. Then, as soon as they become teenagers they all start wearing dark clothing and riding without lights. Darwin would have understood. The call is for more mature cyclists to imitate the tots by wearing florescent waistcoats with "go faster" reflective stripes. Yeah, right! This may be Denmark but pigs do not fly. Well, at least, not yet. Though it is [surely] only a matter of time? Perhaps they could use [Danish-invented] drones to fly them down to the butchers in Germany for Halal slaughter? I meant the pigs. Not the cyclists.

Went for an hour's walk down the road and back. I was going to try and photograph some of the cars attempting the Danish land speed record in fog. Try as I might they were already gone from sight before I could capture a single image. One psychopath was aiming straight for me until I woke him up by waving my arms frantically and jumping on to the verge. His wife was a zombie too and never even glanced in my direction. It shouldn't be necessary, but Denmark has an awful reputation for its lack of psychiatric services. However badly they might be needed. I went shopping in the car because we needed so much stuff after a few days of "excused [MTB] boots." We'd run out of fuel for the stove so I had to risk my back by loading a few 10kg bags into a shopping trolley and then into the boot. Where they can sit undisturbed until we have finished burning the remaining furniture! 

Click on any image for an enlargement.  


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