A few recent headlines reinforce Sweden’s reputation for having the safest roads in the world. First, new NYC mayor Bill De Blasio has instituted the Swedish model “Vision Zero” – a year with zero traffic-related deaths, with a target of 2024.
Having spent the last four months in Stockholm (primarily as a pedestrian and user of public transportation), I can tell you that the majority of honking, speeding, and any signs of road rage I have witnessed have all occurred in the last week – when the number of tourists here seems to have multiplied by about 400%.
And here’s more about how that safe Swedish sensibility came about – so much so that being called a “typical Swede” is like saying you’re playing it too safe, being too boring. Compared to the rampant traffic chaos in Manhattan, I think we could use a little of that attitude. One of the most amazing attitudes I find from the Swedish perspective is that it allows for human error. What?? In America, we punish accidents! But in Sweden, they plan for it….and that seems to make a big difference.
One more interesting thing to note – while there are not as many bikes in Stockholm as I saw on my trips to Copenhagen and Amsterdam, there are a LOT more bike helmets.