2008-07-04

Driving in Trondheim

I drive to work on a motorcycle. Not so much because I have to (I could ride a bicycle), but because it is fun. It is an inspirational way to start my day and a nice reward after work. I drive a rather retro bike. It isn't fast and it isn't all that comfortable, but it is easy to drive and it makes a glorious sound.

A few days ago our neo-pseudo-environmentalist politicians decided it was time to experiment with traffic through Trondheim again, so they turned one lane into a bus-lane on most of the important pieces of road through the city. Thus forcing cars into fewer lanes. All to get more of those godawful, ultra dirty buses rammed through the city.

When you drive a motorcycle, you interact with traffic in a very direct way. If you get hit, you pay the price. So you have to be more alert than when you drive a car. These last days I have sensed a significant change in traffic. There is more aggression. Norwegians normally drive in a very impolite way -- if two lanes merge a significant number of drivers seem to struggle with the idea of every other car moving into the single lane. And if you try to force the issue, they'll honk their horns and pretend that you are the idiot.

There has been a lot more of that these past few days. More erratic driving, more people trying to squeeze in between cars when it isn't their turn and more people who think that riding my rear tyre is perfectly okay.

I wonder what is going to happen after the summer -- when traffic picks up again. I fear things might get even more stressful and more chaotic. And the halfwit politicians have already declared this to be a success. Before any hard data is in. Great, that gives me a lot of confidence in what they do.

(If the politicians really did care about the environment they would make data-driven decisions. The data suggests that the only real way to improve Trondheim is to remove all car traffic from the downtown area, in particular the buses, put down tram-lines everywhere, make cheap transportation of bulky items available and provide cheap and secure indoor parking facilities available for those who live within the city limits (so they can park their cars outside the city). Not an easy or cheap thing to pull off, but then again, the politicians don't really care about the environment -- they're just trying to make it appear that way so the naive idiots who are impressed by pointless changes vote for them).

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