I’ve just booked travel to Copenhagen en route to attend an academic conference through my College’s designated travel provider.
Anyway, I booked through the required travel agent and the tickets arrived with a “travel advisory” about Copenhagen, including “security” advice. And you’ll never guess what they identify as the number one security concern:
GENERAL SECURITY AND CAUTION ADVICE
Cyclists are numerous in Danish cities and often have rightofway over pedestrians and automobiles. In Copenhagen, bicycles may be rented for a small fee but cannot be taken out of the innercity area. Motorists should be sure to check bicycle lanes before turning right, and pedestrians should watch carefully for bicycle traffic when crossing the street.
This might seem counterintuitive, since motor vehicles are heavier and travel faster than bikes. So they might be a bigger threat to “security” of both pedestrians and motorists than bikes. And in an interview, Niels Tørsløv,Copenhagen’s head of road safety and traffic management was asked:
MC: What are the major causes of cyclist crashes in Denmark?
NT: In Copenhagen, the most common cause of accidents is the open car door, with other major causes being turning cars: rightturning and left-turning fairly equally.
There’s a clear majority caused by drivers, but it’s more important to discuss and solve the problems rather than accuse drivers or cyclists.
Now that’s an intelligent position. Now, admittedly, there are many bikes in Copenhagen, but are they a threat to security? The European Cyclists Federation says:
There are a number of examples of cities, where a substantial increase in bicycle use has been associated with a decrease in the number of cycling accidents. In the positive health impact from the physical exercise is taken into account, cycling will in any case be beneficial for the user.
So will I heed the “security” advice? Probably not.