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Swedish cyclist refuses to get out of truck's way

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Swedish cyclist refuses to get out of truck's way
Stock picture of a bicycle unrelated to the incident. Photo: Werner Nystrand/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se
17:10 CEST+02:00
A video of a truck and a cyclist who caused gridlock in a southern Swedish town when they got stuck in stand-off with neither willing to budge has sparked a huge debate after going viral.

The David-versus-Goliath incident in the small community of Vättersnäs between Swedish towns Jönköping and Huskvarna happened last week, but only went viral on Wednesday after a video filmed by bus driver witness David Magui was shared online.

It all began when an articulated truck tried to pass at a narrow section of the road between the two towns, despite a bicycle coming from the other direction technically enjoying right of way.

Now, most cyclists would settle for angrily waving their fist at the driver and, depending on their mood, even muttering a few well-chosen insults under their breath.

Not this one. Instead, he refused to move and demanded that the truck get out of his way, despite the driver vocally arguing that his articulated vehicle was unable to reverse.

"The cyclist yelled and shouted at the truck driver that he should move. (…) The cyclist refused [to move] and said that he had right on his side," Magui told the GT tabloid when he described the incident.

The incident, which lasted more than 10 minutes, caused all traffic on the road to grind to a halt, with several dozen cars and a bus queuing up behind the two stubborn adversaries.

It did not end until a student who was on his way to a university exam ran out of patience and forcibly grabbed hold of the bike and moved it to the side of the road.

The stand-off sparked a massive debate on Wednesday about the law-abiding Swedes' penchant for sticking to the rules at all costs, with some praising the cyclist for standing up for himself.

"Respect, hats off to the cyclist," commented one person on Twitter. But others had a very different view with one calling him the "querulant of the century", and another added "Sweden's most hated biker now".

Jönköping was not one of 15 other Swedish towns and cities that closed off streets during European Mobility Week, an annual sustainable transport campaign, last month.

The high-profile initiative saw cars banned from large parts of Stockholm city centre as the Swedish capital for the first time took part in the Europe-wide initiative.

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