‘I am not a Satanist’: Sweden’s ‘mad’ biker
The Local · 11 Jun 2012, 10:18
Published: 11 Jun 2012 10:18 GMT+02:00
- Man's ‘devil’ number plate banned in Sweden (07 Jun 12)
As news of Robert Löfgren’s “offensive” number plate has swept the globe after The Local’s report on Thursday, the owner of the motorcycle has been the subject of a veritable media storm.
“This is all getting a bit much, I was even on the television last night. But really, the whole thing is stupid, isn’t it?” Löfgren told The Local.
“After all, I’m not a Satanist.”
The Swedish Road Authority (Transportstyrelsen) wrote Löfgren a letter in early June stating that his plates would be de-registered as the plates may be “offensive” to some.
The number 666 represents the antichrist or the devil in popular culture and is sometimes referred to as “the number of the beast”.
Some people take the number so seriously that they actively avoid it, a fear known as Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.
Löfgren himself, however, has no such fear but admits that the devil did have an influence on his triple six decision.
“I’ve actually had the number plate for 20 years. I was inspired to get it after I rode my bike along what was then called The Devil’s Highway – Route 666 in the US. This was back in the days when I worked as a motorcycling journalist called ‘The Mad Swede’,” Löfgren said.
“When I got back to Sweden in 1991, someone told me my motorcycle was a beast and I figured I’d make a personalized number plate. 666 seemed like the obvious option.”
Now, Löfgren claims he felt the need to confront the agency to find out exactly how many complaints they had received about the devilish plates.
“They told me that no one has complained, but that they had decided that it might cause offence. Political correctness gone mad. The times are changing in Sweden, that’s for sure,” he told The Local.
As for now, the avid motorcyclist must choose a new plate that doesn’t rub anyone the wrong way.
“Could I change the plate to 667? Or would people be offended because that’s the neighbour of the beast. Where can we draw the line?”