Police to target red light jumpers and pavement cyclists... in Denmark, of all places

Proof that cycling utopia also has its share of anti-social cyclists - but it's a tiny minority

by Simon_MacMichael   February 23, 2012  

Copenhagen cyclists at red light (Heb, Wikimedia Commons)

Proof, perhaps, that no matter how good you make cycling facilities there will always be a small minority of bike riders who chosse to break the law by riding through red lights or on pavements, police in Denmark of all places will be launching a clampdown on anti-social cycling next week.

The operation, set to run from 27 February to 2 March, will also target cyclists talking on their mobile phones without a hands-free kit, reports Politiken, and follows an increase in fines for offences such as riding through a red light to DKR1,000 (£113.52 at today's exchange rate) from last month.

The newspaper reports that a similar operation last year resulted in 329 cyclists being stopped for not displaying correct lighting, 465 for running traffic signals and 164 for cycling on the pavement or footpaths.

THose figures do need to be put into cotext, however. In Copenhagen alone, which has an urban population of 1.2 million, it is estimated that more than a third of people commute by bike each day to their place of work or study, with authorities targeting an increase to 50 per cent by 2015.

13 user comments

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Cautiously in favour. I do see a lot of bad cyclist behaviour, which does the reputation of law-abiding cyclists no favours. Hell, I get nervous cycling around people on the phone while on their bikes, without proper control or awareness and liable to change direction without warning.

But it shouldn't be disproportionate to the actual danger that cyclists present, especially when compared to motor vehicles. Are there similar crack-downs on bad driver behaviour?

posted by HKCambridge [181 posts]
23rd February 2012 - 14:01


I have a theory that cycling conditions in the UK, London especially, select for more daredevil scofflaw cyclists.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1384 posts]
23rd February 2012 - 14:14


cat1commuter wrote:
I have a theory that cycling conditions in the UK, London especially, select for more daredevil scofflaw cyclists.

An interesting hypothesis - not sure to what extent it is true - but there *does* seem to be evidence that more cautious/less assertive cyclists are at more risk during city junction interactions

Buddha said:

Believe nothing, No matter where you read it,
Or who has said it, Not even if I have said it,
Unless it agrees with your own reason
And your own common sense.

mad_scot_rider's picture

posted by mad_scot_rider [574 posts]
23rd February 2012 - 14:30


I have a theory that cycling conditions in the UK, London especially, select for more daredevil scofflaw cyclists.

I'm afraid the situation i Copenhagen doesn't bear this theory out. There are of course lots (!) of law-abiding cyclists in the city, but there are an incredible number of scofflaws. RLJ'ing (and not just turning right on red) is particularly common, as is talking on a mobile phone while riding. A lot of Danes think that cyclists have a holier-than-thou attitude that makes them/us think that they/we can do what they/we want. I don't think that's the case, they're just self-centered, just like the drivers.

About once a year the Police do this, but they invariably announce it ahead of time, which I just don't understand.

posted by durrin [22 posts]
23rd February 2012 - 23:42


Yes: selfish people can also ride bikes.

My take: on the road I would rather meet an idiot on a bike than an idiot in a car !

posted by zoxed [63 posts]
24th February 2012 - 12:37


I think we need a clamp down on all cycling offences here too. Until cyclists behave within the laws of the road we're always going to be fair game for criticism. I know plenty of drivers fail to obey the rules, but we're the minority trying to fight our corner. Every time a cyclist jumps the red lights or shows aggression towards motorists we're just giving them ammunition. I do agree with zoxed's final point though! Smile

posted by Aminthule [16 posts]
24th February 2012 - 19:05


I'd hate to see "zero tolerance" introduced, because the one thing we have is a sense of elasticity. I'm in favour of clamping down on the more dangerous behaviours (in car / on bike) but there's needs to be a bit of breathing space.
To do otherwise just isn't British, damn it.

posted by Cauld Lubter [122 posts]
24th February 2012 - 21:17


Contrary to the article, riding on pavements is not breaking the law, unless it is endangers the public. I have to agree with others here that a cyclist jumping a red or not paying attention is more a menace to himself than anything else. Impact equals mass times velocity. Even a heavy human is soft and mushy, and relatively very light; unlike a tonne plus vehicle or hundreds of kilo motorcycle with exposed moving and inflexible parts that can mame, dismember, burn and crush humans at even very slow speeds.

Getting angry at cyclists for jumping reds safely is like getting angry at j-walking pedestrians. Worse; thinking that by abiding the law we will make motorists respect cyclists is as pointless as avoiding racists and hoping they will forget their biggotry - there are much bigger and more important road safety issues than cyclists jumping reds. I say this as a cyclist and motorist living in central London.

There are areas in london, like joining the cromwell road from queens gate to then turn left, joining queensway from hyde park to go right to paddington, joining putney bridge from either direction, and many other key cycling routes where jumping a red is the safest way to avoid being cut up by buses, lorries or cars or simply just being able to cross lanes safely at all. To this effect both paris and london ministers have called for jumping reds to be legal:



Can we please get to the key issues of drivers on phones, not looking or indicating before turning, invading cycle lanes; idiotic cyclists trying to overtake everybody along the middle and forcing cars into cycle lanes, idiotic cyclists treating a commute in rush hour as a race track, drivers seeing cyclists as second class road occupants, etc, etc and most of all stop bitching amoung ourselves hoping that if we are all real nice, stop at reds, have a crease in our trousers and say please, pretty please with sugar on top, that motorists who think they deserve to be on the road more than anyone else will suddenly start respecting cyclists????

roadie come mountain biker come single speeder and back again

posted by cborrman [84 posts]
25th February 2012 - 0:29


cborrman wrote:
Contrary to the article, riding on pavements is not breaking the law, unless it is endangers the public.

Not clear if you're talking about Denmark or the UK?

Over here, it is against the law, but Home Office guidance is that it should only be enforced if the riding is dangerous.

More here.


Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8634 posts]
25th February 2012 - 10:01

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"Home Office guidance is that it should only be enforced if the riding is dangerous."

and that decision is entirely down to the uniformed dolt handing out the tickets. I have been fined £30 for riding past 2 shop fronts on an empty pavement at 3mph.

posted by matthewuniverse [17 posts]
25th February 2012 - 11:59


Christ! can we just respect each other as human beings??? & maybe stop putting others & ourselves into imaginary categories e.g cyclist or driver (most are both)... it is this divide & conquer nonsense that gets us nowhere, constant blame of the percieved other side... instead of taking some personal responsibility for the way that we act in public.

There wouldn't be any need for cycling specific laws if we could achieve this Nerd

Paulo's picture

posted by Paulo [110 posts]
25th February 2012 - 17:47

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"chosse"? "THose"? "cotext"? Your proof-reader's been drinking...
Those louts in the photo look decidedly touristy- possibly Americans?

rombsy's picture

posted by rombsy [36 posts]
27th February 2012 - 21:19


Seconded, on both counts!

rombsy's picture

posted by rombsy [36 posts]
27th February 2012 - 21:20

1 Like