Have you ever crossed the road in Denmark where there are traffic lights? Back home in Scotland, I would check both ways and – if there were no cars coming – I would cross the road. Even if the ‘Red Man’ was showing. The same when I worked in Luxembourg. The same on my regular stints to Belgium, France and Germany.
When I moved to Denmark, I noticed that people stood and waited patiently for the ‘Green Man’. Even if the coast was completely clear. Not a car, bus, bike, taxi or truck in sight. Intriguing! I asked my friends why. “What’s the big rush?”, was the answer. Good point!
So I started to wait for the ‘Green Man’ too. And after 16 years in Denmark, I find myself feeling very awkward if I throw caution to the wind and ignore the (danger, danger, DANGER!) ‘Red Man’. On the very rare occasion that I decide to dice with death, I even check to make sure there are no witnesses around. Ha! How neurotic is that?
As a tourist or newbie in Denmark, you also need to be very aware of the fact that Danish motorists do not expect people to walk out in front of them. So, if you don’t wait for the ‘Green Man’, you’re literally taking your life in your hands. Or should that be feet? Well, you have been warned! 😉
And Danish cyclists don’t expect pedestrians to cross when it’s red either. (Though – let’s be honest here – cyclists don’t always adhere to the traffic rules themselves…) Just last week I almost fell off my bike turning right at the traffic lights in our little village. An Italian guy – not hearing any cars – marched right across when it was red. And nearly had me – plus my bike – on top of him. Welcome to Denmark!
Um, is that a chicken crossing the road in the above photo? Why, yes, it is! [Ok, so it’s a rooster. Play along with me.] I took the photo in Trelleborg, on the south coast of Sweden, last year. Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side. Boom boom! Luckily for this one, the car braked just in time. “Hey, Bird Brain! Next time wait for the ‘Green Man’!”