Let city cyclists run red lights: politicians

Stockholm politicians are arguing that the city’s cyclists be allowed to run red lights and cycle against one-way traffic in order to avoid congestion and improve the situation for those who chose to travel by bicycle.

Let city cyclists run red lights: politicians

According to city councillor Per Ankersjö, responsible for the city environment, there are many who already are breaking the rules.

“As a cyclist you want to feel free and it is not as easy to go an extra two blocks as if you are in a car. There is a risk that people ignore the rules anyway, and then it is better to make it legal in an orderly fashion,” he said to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).

In many other countries, traffic rules are less severe on cyclists than on those travelling by car. But in order to change the regulations in Sweden, there may be a need for new legislation. Stockholm City is now pursuing the question with the Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen), according to DN.

But keen cyclist Anders Ygerman of the Social Democrats, chairman of the Riksdag’s committee on traffic, thinks that changing the legislation is not the right way to improve conditions for cyclists in the cities.

“Changing traffic regulations for cyclists doesn’t seem like a good solution to me. Instead I think that a lot could be done locally to prevent cyclists to run red lights by separating cycle paths from the street,” Ygerman said.

The government appointed a commission on cycling in September last year.

“There is currently a governmental review on traffic regulations from a cycling perspective going on and these questions will certainly be part of what is looked at,” said Niclas Nilsson of the Swedish Transport Agency to news agency TT.

According to DN, the number of cyclists in Stockholm is three times as high today as it was in the 1990’s. The highest increase has occurred in the last five years. Cycle paths are more cramped than ever and queues are frequently formed.

But according to prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, road-users’ safety must come first.

“Traffic safety must be the starting point. If large groups of road-users are allowed not to follow traffic regulations there is an increased risk, especially for cyclists who are less protected than drivers,” he said to TT, adding that the city environment usually is tough on cyclists.

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Stockholm Pride is a little different this year: here’s what you need to know 

This week marks the beginning of Pride festivities in the Swedish capital. The tickets sold out immediately, for the partly in-person, partly digital events. 

Pride parade 2019
There won't be a Pride parade like the one in 2019 on the streets of Stockholm this year. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

You might have noticed rainbow flags popping up on major buildings in Stockholm, and on buses and trams. Sweden has more Pride festivals per capita than any other country and is the largest Pride celebration in the Nordic region, but the Stockholm event is by far the biggest.  

The Pride Parade, which usually attracts around 50,000 participants in a normal year, will be broadcast digitally from Södra Teatern on August 7th on Stockholm Pride’s website and social media. The two-hour broadcast will be led by tenor and debater Rickard Söderberg.

The two major venues of the festival are Pride House, located this year at the Clarion Hotel Stockholm at Skanstull in Södermalm, and Pride Stage, which is at Södra Teatern near Slussen.

“We are super happy with the layout and think it feels good for us as an organisation to slowly return to normal. There are so many who have longed for it,” chairperson of Stockholm Pride, Vix Herjeryd, told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

Tickets are required for all indoor events at Södra Teatern to limit the number of people indoors according to pandemic restrictions. But the entire stage programme will also be streamed on a big screen open air on Mosebacketerassen, which doesn’t require a ticket.  

You can read more about this year’s Pride programme on the Stockholm Pride website (in Swedish).