A long-running gag amongst Denmark’s international community is to poke fun at Danes who wait obediently for a green light before walking across the street – even at an absolutely deserted intersection. But even that level of vigilant safety is apparently not enough for the Danish Pedestrian Society (Dansk Fodgænger Forbund – DFF).
DFF wants to encourage pedestrians to display their intentions when crossing the street by using their arms to signal right and left turns.
“We are so good at yelling at all the others here in the association but here is an opportunity to take the lead and be a good example. You don’t need to feel silly just because you show some consideration,” DFF chairman Mikael le Dous told news agency Ritzau.
Le Dous wants pedestrians to signal their intention to turn when they can see that vehicles or bicycles are waiting for them.
“Pedestrians shouldn’t be exempt. We should also be a part of getting traffic to run smoothly,” he said.
Le Dous said the arm signals would be a way for pedestrians to say “thank you for showing consideration but you don’t need to wait for me”.
DFF wants to repeat its message until arm signals become a natural part of the Danish pedestrian experience.
“It needs to sink in because this is something completely new. Some will dismiss it but I’d be surprised if we can’t get people to think this is a good idea in the long run,” le Dous told Ritzau.
If DFF gets its way, will we soon see Danes briskly holding out their right arm on an empty street after they’ve spent two minutes waiting for the green pedestrian light?