Danish News Round-up: Cyclist injuries hit a decade high – The Post

Danish News Round-up: Cyclist injuries hit a decade high

In other stories, a new stretch of railway opens, police are dragging their feet on economic crime, and concussion can ruin your job prospects

Let’s hope he was one of the lucky ones (photo: pxhere)
June 5th, 2019 1:57 pm| by Stephen Gadd

The Danish Vejdirektoratet traffic body has just published its report totting up the number of accidents that took place during 2018.

Good news for motorists, bad for cyclists
The good news is that only 171 people were killed in 2018 – the lowest figure since 2012. As an added bonus, the biggest drop can be seen among motorists and young people aged between 18-24.

On the other hand, 793 cyclists were injured – the highest number since 2008 – and 28 killed.

During 2018 there were 1,862 people seriously injured in traffic accidents: the highest number since 2013.

This is also an increase of 144 people since 2017. As well as this, 1,425 people were slightly injured.

National action plan
The road safety body Rådet for Sikker Trafik is very concerned about the trend.

“This is certainly not positive because if you look at the total number of killed and injured, it is going up again. So that is in direct contrast to what is desirable,” the body’s administrative director, Mogens Kjærgaard Møller, told TV2.

A national action plan set out by the Færdselssikkerhedskommissionen traffic safety commission has set goals for next year of a maximum of 120 people getting killed and 1,000 getting seriously injured.

When is a high-speed train not a high-speed train?
Denmark’s newest stretch of railway from Ringsted to Copenhagen opened last week at a cost of 10 billion kroner. However, because the signalling system is antiquated, trains will only be able to run at 120 km per hour, rather than the 250 km/h the system is intended for. On top of that, instead of the four trains per hour originally planned, there will be one per hour, reports DR Nyheder. However, there is some good news. From July, the speed can be increased to 180 km per hour. On the other hand, if 250 km/h is the aim, new trains will have to be bought and, as yet, there is no political agreement to do that.

White-collar criminals getting off scot-free
Although the media is full of stories about banks and businessmen on the fiddle, fewer cases are actually being pursued by the police. In the last two years, the number of prosecutions brought against company directors has fallen from 385 to 54, reports DR Nyheder. An example is a case of possible fraud involving VAT and tariffs on sweets for around 80 million kroner that was reported to the police by the Fødevarestyrelsen food safety organisation three years ago. The police have not taken it further. According to the Rigspolitiet national police force, it is a matter of prioritising resources. Over the last few years the police have been busy with terror prevention and border control duties.

Concussion can have severe long-term effects
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have discovered that if you are unlucky enough to get concussion, the effects can easily stay with you for at least five years. These can be anything from pain to difficulties concentrating. This can also impact your job prospects. The research team followed 19,732 Danes aged 18-60 over a five-year period diagnosed with concussion. Their interaction with the labour market was monitored and compared with a similarly-sized control group who did not have concussion. Of those who did, 43 percent were not in regular employment five years after their accident compared to 30 percent in the control group.

Record numbers vaccinated against flu
Taking a lesson perhaps from the bitter experience of the previous year’s serious flu epidemic, during the 2018-2019 influenza season a record 846,000 people were vaccinated – which is 15 percent of the population and an all-time record. Over 90 percent of those vaccinated were people in high-risk groups, such as the over-65s, chronically ill, pregnant women and people on disability pensions.

New climate research centre to open in Copenhagen
Climate and its effects are on everybody’s lips and the University of Copenhagen has just announced the planned opening of a research centre to investigate the so-called ‘tipping points’ – the points of no return when it comes to climate. The TiPES Centre will be led by Peter Ditlevsen of the Niels Bohr Institute in collaboration with a number of international researchers from the UK, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Norway and France. It is hoped the centre will be able to develop better climate models so the tipping point risks can be predicted with more accuracy.

Denmark trying to bring back injured child from Syria
The Danish authorities are engaged in discussions with their Kurdish counterparts in Syria to try and get a boy who holds Danish citizenship out of a refugee camp and back to Denmark for treatment, reports TV2. The boy was in the town of Baghouz – the last bastion of Islamic State (IS) in Syria, before it fell to Kurdish forces in March – when he was shot in the back when fleeing from the town. According to reports, his condition is stable but needs long-term treatment.