Does the Police suffer from Stockholm Syndrome?

This week the police runs one of its bike campaigns, rushing to the places in the city, where most bicyclist takes a right on red or crosses 2 meters of sidewalk between two non connected bikepaths.Many bicyclist complain about fines for what they perceive to be ridiculous no-victim-offenses, and they are in most cases right. These razzias has been increased radically the last 5 years, and at least in Copenhagen far exceed speed and red light control of cars.

The Copenhagen Police claim they do not know how much more manpower is used to control bicyclists, and claim the control across modalities is purely be chance, however hard to believe, there is no planning or reporting of traffic control, the Copenhagen Police claims.
 Photo Lars Barfred
Still, the police control is needed. The Police need to control all in traffic, and whether an offense is potentially lethal or really minor, is not really important, everybody needs to know their might be a consequence. The likelihood of breaking the law in traffic, is a product of perceived risk of injury, risk of getting caught and impact of a possible punishment (most likely a fine).
The problem is something else; The Danish highway code, and the Police attitude towards motorists.
First the Danish highway code has a lot of stupid rules, that does not relate to empirical data about traffic safety, such as you are not allowed to pass another bicyclist in an intersection, to drive two on a bike, to drive with one foot on the bike.
 
You are not allowed to take a right on red, though it is documented to be as safe as on green, if there is a connecting bike path. You are allowed to make a hard left, without waiting for the light in the crossing direction to turn green, but you are not allowed to make a soft left, though this is more safe.
You are allowed to talk on a mobile if the handset is in the pocket, you are allowed to drive with only one hand on the handlebars, you are allowed to drive with noisecancelling headphones, but you are not allowed to drive with the ususal 15 km/h and holding a mobile phone to your ear.
You are not allowed to drive with one foot on the pedal. You are not allowed to pass by other bicyclists if you drive a cargobike, not anywhere!
 
The current government has agreed to revise the bicyclist section of the highway code, in their policy blueprint for coming into office. However , when the bicyclist federation (DCF) asked the minister of justice how the work was coming, he had no intentions to follow through on his governments intentions, stating that motorists received many traffic tickets, so this needed to be the bicyclist reality as well, he saw no reason to ease the code.
 
The level of the fines is a different matter, driving two people on a bike, which is really not harming anyone in the world, is twice as expensive, as driving 10 km/h too fast. 10 km/h does not sound as much, and is probably accepted by most people in our society. But 10 km/h too much increases accident frequency as much as driving with 0,08 in the blood, which is accepted by virtually nobody. There is no consistency. 
5 Police officers in hiding during a previous bike razzia week. Photo Lars Barfred
Now the views of the Justice minister, is probably not his own, because they neatly reflect the Police attitude to motorists. An attitude which resembles an army trying to softly suppress a revolution, by a set of checks and balances.
You can not upset motorists to much, because they will revolve! If you give cars many speed tickets, they must experience bicyclists receive the same control, or they will revolve.
 
The Police can veto any change in street design and regulation the city wants to make. If the city wants to eliminate a right turn lane, to make room for a bike path going through the intersection, Police will typically deny the city that opportunity, stating that car traffic can otherwise not pass the intersection fast enough. If the city wants to reduce speed to 40 km/h Police will fight it, and in most cases deny it, as they reason that motorists will not accept it to a degree, where police can not enforce it.
 
I have never heard this argument in any other legislative manner, that something is allowed because a certain group of citizens will not accept the law otherwise. And the argument has certainly never been used in the case of bicyclists. 76% of bicyclists turns right on red occasionally, if bicyclists where treated like motorists, taking a right on red would be allowed in maybe half of the city intersections, however its not allowed anywhere. The Police thinks its really dangerous. 
 
They thought that too, about changing the right of way in roundabouts for cars, even though right of way to cars entering the roundabout quickly clocks traffic, but the Police kept insisting people could not learn that everywhere except in roundabouts, people coming from the right, has the right of way. Eventually EU law dictated the Police to align highway codes to the rest of Europe. The same way the Police thinks that if some intersections has a sign which states bicyclists may turn right on red, bicyclists will automatically think that rule applies to all intersections in the country.
If the city wants to change 50 km/h to 30 km/h the police can not stop to laugh.
We see the same pattern when there are lethal accidents, police race to acquit the driver in the media, often within hours, as was today the case where a man was killed in a pedestrian crossing, the police concluded within a few hours, that the man must have failed to see the car when he walked on to the zebra stripes, the police could not see the car driver was at fault.
 
Last year a girl was killed during a training ride in the countryside north of Copenhagen, a car overtaking another car before a hill top, drove full frontal into her in the wrong side of the street (for the car). This was difficult to relieve the car driver of responsibility right away, but police later came up with the theory, that the girl (facing a car coming right at her to kill her) had pressed the break in desperation, resulting in her falling into the street nanoseconds before being hit. Accordingly the driver was not at fault.
 
Whether the police symphatize with car drivers to a degree which must be termed as a chronic Stockholm syndrome or they are afraid to acknowledge cars are extremely dangerous machinery is difficult to asses.

 

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