Anyone who has ventured out onto the crowded cycle lanes in central Copenhagen knows the story only too well. The lights are red at a traffic-light controlled junction, which rapidly morphs into the starting grid of a Formula 1 race, with every man and his dog jockeying for pole position.
People cut you up on the inside, are up on the pavement, or just ignore the lights and turn right, sending hapless pedestrians on the crossing diving for cover.
However, this perception appears to be rather wide of the mark. New research from the Vejdirektoratet traffic body carried out at traffic-light controlled junctions in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Aalborg, Roskilde, Næstved, Randers, Herning and Vejle reveals that only around 5 percent of cyclists actually break the law.
Of the 28,579 cyclists in the survey, there were only 1,649 traffic offences logged.
Worst at smaller junctions
“The results show it’s not just about cyclists being better at obeying the traffic regulations. The most important thing is how traffic-light controlled junctions are set up and whether we have cycle paths or not,” said Vejdirektoratet department head Marianne Foldberg Steffensen.
Oddly, perhaps, the number of infringements in larger cities is smaller than those in smaller towns where the junctions are smaller. This indicates that the more complicated a junction is, the more likely cyclists are to obey the rules.
Of the 1,649 infringements, the most common is turning right at a red light whilst not causing inconvenience to other road-users or pedestrians.