National Round-Up: The threat of souped-up electric bikes
Electric bikes accounted for six fatalities on Denmark’s roads in 2018 – around 10 percent of the total figure for cyclists, and a steep climb on previous years, as there were only 15 deaths between 2012 and 2017.
The statistics compiler, Vejdirektorat, is at present engaged in an analysis of electric bikes, which is expected to be published in the autumn.
Pedal to the metal
One of the contributing factors could be that a legal 800 kroner kit can tune an electric bike to go 60 km/h.
The accident prevention body Havarikommissionen wants the kits banned, but concedes it might be pointless if they’re easily available online or abroad.
More like a moped
An electric bike’s motor should only assist a cyclist up to a 25 km/h maximum speed. After that, it is up to the cyclist’s own muscle power.
However, pedelecs are permitted to go up to 45 km/h. Unlike normal electric bikes, these have specially strong frames, more powerful brakes and side-mirrors fitted. At the moment, they are permitted in Denmark as an experiment.
Is age a factor?
A 62-year-old man was killed on June 14 in a collision between his electric bicycle and a lorry at a roundabout near Årslev in Funen. It is believed he was going at around 30-40 km per hour.
The majority of all the cyclists killed and injured are more than 44 years old and around two-thirds of them are women.
The excavation of a large stone near Thisted in northwestern Jutland, which locals believe could become a tourist attraction, is not going as well as planned.
ome 170 tonnes in size, Hundborgstenen is the country’s sixth largest stone, but it has been hidden below the surface for over 80 years after being last exposed in 1938. It arrived in Denmark during the last Ice Age.
Pain in the office
Two out of three Danes with office jobs suffer from physical pain, according to a HK union survey. The pain is caused by sitting down all day, clicking a mouse and putting pressure on the back, neck and shoulders. In related news, Copenhagen Municipality wants to limit the number of night shifts to four over concerns it is unhealthy for workers.
Historic castle for sale
Gurrehus Castle in North Zealand has been put up for sale on boliga.dk for 52 million kroner. Owned by the real estate company Gurrehus, the historic property has undergone a massive renovation to restore it to its former splendour. This is the third time it has been made available on the market since 2013.
Dam … he’s experienced
Henrik Dam Kristensen, 62, has replaced Pia Kjærsgaard as the speaker of Parliament. Born in Vorbasse in southern Jutland and originally a postman, he has been a Socialdemokratiet MP since 1990, although he did sit as an MEP from 2004-2007. Kristensen held ministerial posts in both the Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and Helle Thorning-Schmidt governments.
Thousands in poverty
Around 20,000 children under the age of five were living below the poverty line in Denmark in 2017, according to a report from Arbejderbevægelsens Erhvervsråd. Most were the product of single-parent families and over half of the children’s mothers were unskilled workers.
Record Folkemødet opening
The opening of Folkemødet – or as its founder Bertel Haarder likes to calls it: “the political Roskilde Festival with less beer and more talk” – set a new record as 32,000 guests gathered in the Bornholm town of Allinge to listen to the opening addresses. Heavy rain fell during the four-day festival of debating, drumming up support and drinking.
Rigspolitiet has discovered an error in a computer program that used phone data to place suspects at particular locations at specific times. This means the police and the public prosecutor will have to reassess all such evidence in cases dating back to 2012 in case there have been miscarriages of justice. The error was corrected on March 8.
Four-day working week
From this autumn, 300 employees at Odsherred Municipality in northwest Zealand will be able to fulfil their 37-hour working week over four days instead of five, enabling them to have a three-day weekend. The trial will last three years. The longer working days will enable more members of the public to arrange meetings that do not interrupt their own working hours.
The cost of Paludan
The police have confirmed that the cost of protecting politicians since January 1 now exceeds 100 million kroner, with Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the far-right party Stram Kurs, contributing the most to the overall figure. The police estimate they have spent 78 million kroner on wages and 21 million on special equipment during the period.
Blue card expiry concerns
Some 1.5 million people risk losing their health insurance cover when travelling outside Scandinavia after 31 December 2019 unless they renew their blue card, according to Udbetaling Danmark. But many have not been so lucky, as their cards have already expired.
The country will face a shortage of 355 dentists in a decade’s time as not enough are replacing those who are retiring, according to Sundhedsstyrelsen. Long waiting times are impacting kids in the public sector. The country is also facing a similar problem with its GPs, as one in ten have reached the retirement age. Among dentists, it is one in eight.
Make it harder to run
New parties running in future general elections in Denmark might need more voter declarations to qualify. Several veteran politicians – including Bertel Haarder, Mogens Lykketoft and Marianne Jelved – contend the number should be doubled to 40,000. It has become too easy, they argue, for the likes of Klaus Riskær Petersen’s party to take part.