There’s nothing quite like Lund in fall. Cyclone winds. Rainstorms more frequent and punctual than 8 AM lectures. The seemingly never-returning sunshine. Lots of things to complain about in other words. However, there is one Lundensic concern that is not periodical like the weather.
When you step out in the streets you are stepping out in a battlefield, and not knowing that probably means you will be the first one to be killed. Whether you are a footman, part of the rolling cavalry or a driver of a 2-ton death machine tank your task is to make life a living hell for the other people in traffic first, get from point A to point B second.
If one stops to observe the traffic here for a moment it is hard to come to another conclusion. People speed, honk, walk in the middle of the streets, willfully ignore turning signals, bike over pedestrian crossings, and the concept of right of way probably was lost sometime around the university’s founding. People get told by their driving instructors to aim for the cyclists (true story) and they, in turn, seek revenge in every way they can. Pedestrians try to assert themselves by performing very effective road blockages on the inner city streets (who would ever try to drive their car on Stora Tomegatan a Saturday night, for instance).
What has happened here is a complete deterioration of the social contract between traffickers. It probably started sometime last century, when inhabitants of other parts of Sweden coming to study, some who had never sat on a bike before started taking over the streets without any drivers experience. More than often they were probably also drunk. This made the car drivers stop caring about the rules, making everyone constantly afraid of their lives. Other people behave like idiots, therefore people think it is okay to behave like an idiot themselves. It is a vicious (bi)cycle. And I haven’t even mentioned the bus drivers (shudder).
How one could ever solve this problem is impossible to know and if someone does, their conflict-solving skills probably entitle them a next job in Gaza. The board of the municipality does not think it is all that complicated, though. “We know who will solve this,” they say. “A tramway driver!”