On a Monday afternoon in September, ABC News captured a scene in a camera in which a total of 49 out of 153 cyclists rode across the crossing in red light within 30 minutes in downtown Oslo.The rule breakers accounted for 32 percent, almost one third, of all cyclists who crossed the Prince Street / Kirkegata in the period from 15:30 to 16:00.
The high number of rule breakers caused many city council politicians in Oslo to react.
Kristoffer Gustavsen (H) who is in the Transport and Environment Committee of Oslo City Council, expresses his worry after watching the video.
“It’s shocking to see that so many people violate traffic rules. When it comes to such a large proportion, it seems to me that many people think it’s legitimate to break traffic rules as long as you are a cyclist. That’s how we can not, “Gustavsen told ABC News.
Carl I. Hagen, Frp-nestor and member of the committee in city council, supported the views of Gustavsen and said that it is an overly tall number.
“Most cyclists behave properly in traffic. But 32 percent of red-light cyclists, as in this case, are an overly high number. They ruin the cyclists as a group. If the police see such offenses, they should immediately address the person concerned and the fine, “said Hagen to ABC News.
They should be punished in the same way as drivers driving on red light. I would urge all cyclists to behave legally and pay attention to other road users. Pedestrians and other cyclists driving calmly and following the traffic rules are quickly anxious by cyclists who cycle fast and break rules. Take care, says the Frp politician.
The police in Oslo have previously told ABC News that cyclists who are riding a red light can not be prioritized but try to print fines if they see someone carrying out such an offense.
The police directorate had said that they do not have information indicating that extraordinary measures should be taken to bring down bicycle-related traffic offenses.
Sunniva Holmås Eidsvoll (SV): need a bike culture
“We just need a bike culture. Then we need much better facilities for cyclists, with separate bicycle fields, separate signage and own traffic lights. Furthermore, people must learn the traffic rules for cyclists. All children in Oslo should learn this at school, “says Eidsvoll to ABC News.
City council member Sunniva Holmås Eidsvoll (SV) in the Transport and Environment Committee believes that there is still a long way to go before Oslo becomes a safe place for both pedestrians and cyclists.
However, she also believes that the video shown by ABC News does not provide a complete picture. She said that the numbers of rule breakers should have been zero, however, “figures for a 30-minute crossing say nothing about the situation in Oslo and where the problems are greatest”.
Kristoffer Gustavsen fears that this type of riding habits will create bad bike culture and will affect the young generation.
Adult cyclists should be good examples for others who want to ride a bike and for children. If there is a bicycle generation in Oslo that still sees its parents and other adults riding a red light, we can have a much bigger traffic safety problem in the future, he says.
He says that there are many riders who obey the rules and are good cyclists. “The majority follow the rules, but the video shows that it’s too big a proportion that seems okay not to do that.” He also wants more people to ride in Oslo.
The Storting has decided that there should be a goal that the country of cycling on a national basis should be at least 8 per cent. In cities, the goal is to travel by bike by 2029 to make up 20 percent of all travel.
Bike traffic in Oslo has risen sharply in recent years. At the same time, the number of hard injured and killed in traffic accidents involving bicycles in the metropolitan areas has increased by 66 per cent from the period 2004-2007 to the period 2014-2017, according to figures from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.
Municipality gave a light reaction
Liv Jorun Andenes, Managing Director of the Bicycle Project in Oslo, commented on the 49 cyclists riding a red light to ABC News on behalf of the City of Oslo in the weekend’s article. She did not condemn the cyclist’s behavior and gave explanation of the poorly adapted behavior.
Her main point was to emphasize the means the municipality has to prevent this type of behavior. It is mainly to build better cycle roads and infrastructure, according to Andenes. At the same time, she believes it becomes a little too easy to ask the cyclists to sharpen and get better positions.
Gustavsen agrees that it is important to build the bicycle road network in Oslo and follow the strategy that has been laid, but he believes it will be too easy to blame the widespread driving of red light on the bike infrastructure in Oslo.
“I think the person who pronounces himself on behalf of the municipality takes very easy account of this. One can not say that it is the infrastructure’s fault that cyclists have bad positions. They are guilty of their bad attitude. The bicycles must be sharpened. It’s not ok to ride a bike. It creates dangerous situations, he says.