I am a life long bike rider creeping into middle age, and I approve this message.
GOOD! Now bike riders can feel the pain drivers feel when stuck behind a slow ass bike.
Yes, if it was here they'd be jumping back and forth into traffic, the bus lane, and/or the sidewalk. All the while growling at people to get out of their way. The Seattle cyclist is often a very entitled breed. Their heads would explode if they had to deal with such civility.
Yeah, slow down cyclists. In Seattle now, you often have to forego your right-hand turn for fear of the cyclist that's practically riding on your back bumper will not slow down in time. It's THAT BAD!
those cities are FLAT. seattle is not flat (in Trondheim they have a conveyor belt to help them up the hill! wimps!…).

therefore, the riders you describe are not going to be in our bike lanes for decades - until the fixey riders are pensioners.

Obviously no one bikes fast in Europe, that's why international bike racing is dominated by people from other continents.

(What I'm saying is there are plenty of people riding fast on clippy-clappy pedals in European bike meccas, they just don't do it downtown where all the traffic is.)
@4- "In Seattle now, you often have to forego your right-hand turn for fear of the cyclist that's practically riding on your back bumper will not slow down in time. "

I love your speculative fiction posts.
The difference is that because bikes take up soooo much less room than cars, if traffic really becomes a problem, you can just take another lane of car traffic. You'll move an order of magnitude more people than with a car lane anyway (if people use it, but in this scenario they do).
Sadly, only 1 in every 2500 Americans have that much patience. The other 2499 don't ride bikes. Maybe that's an L.A. thing.

As I "mature" I can tell you that slower is better, I let them honk and jet around me middle fingers extended. And then I laugh at them.
or you know you could lawfully pass people on the left.
Jesus Dan, couldn't think of anything else to preach about today so decided to just let loose about this? I'm a committed, everyday bike rider who spent time riding all around Berlin. They have the same kind of system there as the ones you mentioned and you know what? The slower speed and heavier bike traffic didn't bother me. Not one bit. I ride fast here in Seattle because I have to be in car traffic and it's safer to me to try and stay closer to the speed of the cars than to meander along a not very pretty street.

Give us lots of protected bike lanes as part of a large, connected network and I will happily slow down as my 40s continue and my 50s start. And all the other latent bike riders out there will more happily join me while the bike messengers and those training for races can figure out their own solution. In other words, we know what we're fighting for: It's to have a system that welcomes everyone and makes riding easier in all sorts of ways!

Think before you write man. That seems like it may be a new concept for you, judging from the last 20 years of shit you've put out there (that's not your Savage Love column), but try it. You might like it.
I've been living the "Munich style" of bike riding (no cycling for me) for decades.

Nothing tighter fitting than sweatpants cut into shorts for me.

I ride on the sidewalk...away from cars...where it's safe...safer than US style bikelanes next to left side car doors.

I go slow.

I use the lowest gears possible in all situations.

I ride upright, or even stand up on the pedals.

I like to go downhill.

And Kent is my Munich.
Yeah, I don't know. Part of what I love about cycling is getting up a good head of steam, feeling the breeze, wind in your hair, etc... I've never found it all that challenging to locate a nice happy medium of riding hard and relatively aggressively without being an asshole to my fellow cyclists or drivers (like most cyclists I'm also a driver, though I do considerably more of the former.)

Mostly though, I just wanted to comment on that big beautiful arch in the background there. Hope you got to ride under it. Hot damn, I wish we had more big beautiful arches like that.
I think Dan is exactly right here. The separated bike infrastructure is going to drive a lot of us nuts, and let's hope we don't become (as Oregon and I believe Germany are) a mandatory use state wherein if there's a bike lane you may not use the "traffic" lane. SDOT is notoriously useless at implementing bike infrastructure.

As for those motorists who complain about having been slowed down by cyclists I fully believe you've never been delayed a single second by a cyclist - because the moment you get around them you start speeding to make up the perceived loss of time; you get to your destination at the same time that you would have.

I know it's not fun driving your behemoth in the presence of vulnerable squishy cyclists and pedestrians - but don't take your fear of hurting others out on others - just exercise due care - it's not hard.
@14: we'd have to have had more wars or more monarchies.
I don't mind slow when it's not raining. When it's raining, then I want to speed up to get warm and done quicker.
this wasn't a race, we were all gonna get where we need to go, why not take it slow and enjoy the view

I really get tired of this general attitude because sometimes you're trying to do something like pick up a sick kid, take your spouse to the walk in clinic for what later turned into a gallstone or whatever and there's some self-centered asshole on the left who has decided that "well I don't need to be anywhere, so neither does anyone else". There are times where people have a legitimate, non-life threatening need to travel at a speed faster than "distracted tourist" and yet there they are, holding up the left without a care in the world!

This goes for cars, this goes for bikes, this goes for those asinine groups of people who walk side by side in large groups. Fuck you, each and every one of you.
I became a bike rider in March after my car commute between Capitol Hill and Ballard became wildly unpredictable--could be 25 minutes, could be 90 minutes.

I've been biking in Berlin and Copenhagen, and I have no problem with the pace, flowing with the pack, dedicated lanes, no need for a helmet. It's calm and it's safe and it gets you where you want to go. I'd be happy with that here, even if it added more time to my commute. Way less stressful than dealing with a small but nasty subset of people who drive cars who can't stand sharing the road with a person on a bicycle...territorial and aggressive and mean, driving closer to the curb to keep me from moving past on a congested road, yelling, revving their engines and roaring past with only inches to spare. All I want to do is get to work. I'm not trying to win a race or prove a point.
I'm no
@18 Seattle is adding 18,000 new residents per year. The days of fast commutes for people driving alone in a car during daylight hours are over, forever. If you want to reliably get from Point A to Point B, support rapid mass transit.
damn that bike lane is sexy.
GRRRRRR, 1Password posted my barely-started comment when I used it to log in.

OK, so I'm not reading the comments here, but wanted to chime in to say: Dan, did you see how many people made it through a single green light in that biking video? In the city, I'd guess 4–6 cars can make it through a light on a good cycle. Most people drive alone.

Imagine if all those people were in cars. What type of infrastructure would the city need to support their commute? I think you're arguing a strawman; sane cycling advocacy (and not "I got mine, now fuck you" types) goes hand-in-hand with urbanism and environmental advocacy; it's not about "not sitting in traffic", it's about scaling our cities to support equality, density, and sustainability.

In short, that video made a point, but not the one you thought it made.
@7: Think what you will about such anecdotes. But Seattle drivers have plenty of them. You don't think that some quick thinking by Seattle drivers haven't saved Seattle bicyclists from serious injury if not lives, do you?
@2: FYAD.
@15 do you really see this anywhere outside downtown and a few arteries? I'm sure there will be plenty of places to go fast, for a long, long time.

@19 +1
Munich? Looks like Berlin. But Dan's totally right.
Click bait? Who knows anymore…however that may be, the future you predict for Seattle cycling is somewhat suspect as the current situation you describe, i.e. cycling in the mentioned highly developed countries/cities, has several mitigating factors that greatly influence the phenomenon.

Firstly, it is not so much that Europeans have some wildly different risk modelling as much as that – most especially in the places you mention – if you hurt someone while driving an automobile, or a bicycle for that matter, you are actually punished for your infraction; traffic safety is no joke in those places and the true cost of “accidents”, or even accidents, is not splayed out across society as a whole as it is here with mere wrist slaps as long as you can prove sobriety. Indeed, the adherence to the respective traffic rules would make most any American’s head spin.

As for the speed, I think everyplace you mention is flat…hence the slow speed and lack of perspiration. And let us not romanticize the Danes too much as any cursory ride around Copenhagen reveals what may be a startling truth to some: they do not ride that far on average. Nothing against that, mind you, but they also have dedicated passenger trains as well as a shitload of people driving cars. Did I mention that they are incredibly courteous and law-abiding drivers?

And, the infrastructure…because of the bike-ways and the like, not only can you ride a bike as you might walk a sidewalk here, but like walking on a sidewalk, the transition time between the bike and anything else, e.g. café, work, shop, bar, etc…is greatly reduced. People do not dress all super-bikey because they do not have to despite weather conditions that are quite similar to Seattle. For example, try riding across the I-90 Bridge multi-use path on a rainy day in your work/office clothes…disgusting! Riding around Copenhagen on a rainy day is hardly an issue at all...just a bit wet.

Also in regard to transition time, have you seen the investments the Dutch are making in bicycle parking alone? Crazy…

”Bicycle Parking Facility at Rotterdam Central Station”…

So yah, I will have to keep “…lycra bike fetish outfits and snippy-snappy bike shoes…” in the closet until race-day, but whatevs…to have what the Danes, most especially the Dutch, or even Berlin, has would be so many orders of magnitude better than the shit-show we have here. We have the monies, we lack the will.
Europe is mostly flat. I cycle when I live somewhere flat. I hate cycling on hills (of which Seattle and San Francisco have many).
I think a lot of cyclists DON'T want segregated bike lanes. They just want someone who runs them over during the sprint from red light to red light to get a ticket.
I'm not too sure about Munich but one thing not mentioned here is that the 'dedicated bike lanes' in Europe are very often part of a (narrow) sidewalk, a part that is frequently indistinguishable from the part you walk on. And my experience in Berlin was that there are in fact very many cyclists going at high rates of speed (although granted maybe not quite as high a rate as some lycra clad yahoos in Seattle). Cyclists don't have to worry much about cars but pedestrians have to worry a lot about cyclists. I would be interested to see the statistics for pedestrian-cyclist collisions in European cities. Guaranteed, exponentially higher than here.
"Europe is mostly flat" lol
I spent some time in Copenhagen this summer and got to experience the flow of bike traffic first hand. Another point to consider is that the majority of bike riders in European cities use bikes with only a few gears, so you don't have people buzzing by you on performance road bikes. Everyone rides at the same speed because they're all on the same bike! And European riders are very experienced, so you're not gonna be stuck behind someone who is just getting back on a bike for the first time in 20 years and is not confident and doesn't know the rules of the road.

Also, there were a couple articles in The Guardian and Wall Street Journal this week about mandatory helmet laws vs. ridership in Seattle compared to other cities, and the impact on bike share programs:……
I would have no problem at all riding behind that woman in pink at whatever speed she chooses.

As both a cyclist and a driver, I really hate the bike lane passers. Yes, a cyclist can take the car lane even if there's a bike lane, if they need to, but when they do so by veering into the car lane without signaling, it's unsafe and annoying as fuck.

But while cycling there is nothing more annoying than some fuckstick passing you in a big show of competitive frenzy only to pull in front of you and slow down. Happens all the fucking time, if you are a moderately strong cyclist who knows how to use his gears (most riders don't) but who isn't obsessed with being the fastest off the line. You're not in a race.

Also, shoaling should be punished by death.
Nah, Dan. You evidently don't know what urban bike activists in the U.S. are talking about and working on.
@18 Have you tried using your words?
@34: Welcome back. Helpful links to unfamiliar terms is always goodness.
I am one of those fast riders and I am more than happy to slow down for a safer, separated bike infrastructure that is more welcoming to "casual" and new riders. I do agree with the sentiment from some commentators above though--yes, Seattle has a lot of spandex-clad, macho riders but it's primarily because of the current environment. Try biking from the Sculpture Park to Cal Andersen for instance--it requires over 400 ft of climbing all on "sharrows" and streets without bike lanes. It's barely even 2 miles and can take well over 30 minutes to do. One doesn't even end up touching the brand new protected "bike islands" on 2nd and on Broadway on that ride. It's popular routes like this that should be an absolute priority to our city to make safe. We are doing a phenomenal job at adding protected bike lanes on every street except for the ones that people actually ride. The "Freds" and "Cat 6 riders are annoying but not the real problem here.
So, yes, Seattle is hillier than every city mentioned, and is hillier than --I believe-- every North American city of similar size or larger. However "Electric-assist" bikes might help get more people on two wheels around here, and I'm all for that. They are a bit pricey, but I see them around ( usually passing me up hills :) on my daily commute.

Another factor is that European cities were built when no one could travel faster than a horse, so walking was the predominant mode of transit for the majority. Cars came much, much later, and lanes accommodating motor cars were retrofitted into these cities. Most european cities I've visited have large pedestrian-only areas, and sidewalks that can accommodate large quantities of pedestrians.

Most/all major cities from Chicago westward were largely constructed around the concept of car travel, not pedestrians, with the (erroneous) philosophy that everyone would get everywhere in motor cars. So subsequently pedestrian and bicycle routes were de-emphasized. And now we're retrofitting out cities to accomodate/prefer (one would hope) these modes of transit.

That all means that currently we're decades away from any sort of comprehensive network of truly-separated bicycle lanes (not just paint or sharrows), which means Seattle bicyclists have to constantly mix and mingle in lanes with cars, trucks, and buses, which does induce a pressure to go faster.

Once we do have a better bicycleable city, more people will use bicycles, and the speeds will naturally slow down because bicyclists won't be constantly fearing for their lives -- as they do today.

Bicycle racers will have plenty of places to go long and fast, they have no reason to try to race-train downtown.
@24- "In Seattle now, you often have to forego your right-hand turn for fear of the cyclist that's practically riding on your back bumper will not slow down in time."

This scenario only makes sense if the driver has failed to signal and merge properly, which I believe plenty of people do, but doesn't mean you've saved a life, it means you managed not to commit negligent homicide.
Your mistake is in assuming all cyclists will be confined to those sidepaths. That's true in some places, but Washington is not a segregated state -- even when there are bike lanes, cycletracks, or entirely separate paths, people on bikes are still free to choose the street if it's safer, more pleasant, or goes where they need to go.

The Dutch are working to get faster cyclists off of cycletracks and into the street. The Dutch Cyclists Union says fast cyclists make sidepaths hazardous and unwelcoming for their intended audience, those slower, more vulnerable users who aren't comfortable riding in the street -- children, the elderly, casual riders on upright roadsters, etc.

Germany, too, has softened its mandatory sidepath law -- faster riders are free to ride in the street except where specifically signed to require them to use the sidepath. That's why you see the sidepaths full of slower riders, they're comfortable riding there, avoiding conflicts with faster vehicles.

You can already see this in Seattle, with our limited collection of bicycle facilities -- many riders choose the street over the sidepath on 2nd Ave, for example, because the path isn't safe at the speed many riders can simply coast southbound on 2nd. Broadway's cycletrack provides last-mile access to locations right on Broadway itself, but faster riders use safer routes for long-distance trips, diverting over to 12th, for example.

Supporting bicycling by people of all ages and abilities doesn't mean corralling everyone onto some one-size-fits-all path. Separated facilities provide comfort for slower and more vulnerable users over a limited selection of routes, while streets continue to provide access throughout the city.
Your logic is flawed.

The reason that people don't mind the slower pace on the bike has nothing to do with the difference between Americans and Europeans and everything to do with how we perceive waiting when stuck in a car. It can be downright pleasant to have an excuse to slow down on the bike - look around, listen, exchange greetings with a fellow cyclist, catch your breath. Contrast with the feelings you get when you pull up to a big traffic jam in your car - stress, anger, helplessness.
@24, 40 - Turn Signals Save Lives

I wish more cars used turn signals MUCH sooner. That would help a lot.
Don't flip your signal on at the last second, signal ahead of time, so people are alerted to your intention.
Many bike "activists" have helped us get to a point where we have 3% commute mode share and a lot of people who are irritated at cyclists. I've ridden in Copenhagen and on other safe, separated facilities (in Vancouver and elsewhere) and they're awesome--exactly what we need, and more of them. I'm a regular bike rider but I'd happily sacrifice some speed for enhanced safety. The bike "racer" culture has done more to harm cycling in the US than help it--see….
Just this morning I had a driver pass me on the left (I was in the bike lane) and then immediately turn right, cutting me off, with no warning on a slick road. This happens ALL THE TIME! I feel a lot of pressure to bike quickly because I feel like this is less likely to happen. Why can't you fucking drivers wait literally an extra 2 seconds and turn right BEHIND me.

I think there are many reasons why we bike faster than Europeans. One reason, living in the US we are forced to rush around everywhere all the time because we work way too much. More hours per day at work, more hours per day getting to and from work, and fewer holidays/vacation (we're talking like 25 more days of work every year) . If we didn't have to work so fucking much we wouldn't feel the need to rush around and get all the other shit done. So much of our time is filled with bullshit that we just want to get from A to B to C and be done with it so we can actually enjoy what little time we get to relax.
the bike future we all hope to build [...] looks an awful lot like the car driver's present: crawling along in traffic.

This is critically an inaccurate comparison.

Driving is inherently stressful, whether you drive fast, or are stuck in slow gridlock, it is stressful. You are commanding a tank that could kill in a moment's lapse of attention.

Bicycling is not stressful... especially going at a normal 8-12 mph pace. Even in "trafficky" groups.
Riding a bicycle IS stressful when you have to mix in lanes with cars, risking death.
Apple =/= Orange.
Bring it. City streets aren't a velodrome, they're a complicated place that needs a lot of situational awareness and buffer space, and people who are riding faster than being able to stop in 10 feet don't look safe to me. I ride a lot in my city (Boston), slowly, and I get where I'm going without much hassle.
I agree it will piss off the wingnuts in their spandex, but whatever -- inner-city streets aren't the place to get your cardio workout! You want to put the hammer down, go out to the country or hit the gym.
@45 Seattle PD makes zero effort to enforce safe right turns by drivers, so it's no wonder they don't turn safely.

The law is clear, both the approach to a right turn, and the right turn itself, must be made from as close to the right curb as practicable.

To make a right turn on a street with a bike lane, the driver is supposed to signal well before the turn, merge safely to the right, yielding to anyone already in the bike lane, and then make the right turn, from a position where there simply *cant* be a bike hidden in their blind spot. (As long as the bike lane isn't physically separated, of course -- then drivers do have to watch out for bikes overtaking on the right. It's a tradeoff, more separation mid-block, but more hazardous at intersections, especially for faster cyclists.)
Europeans have different attitudes about risk—both "acceptable levels of" and "personal liability for"

Having just spent some time in London, Paris, and Gent, I'll add that Europeans drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians are much more congenial about sharing the roads and are waaaaaaaaayyy less sensitive and territorial with each other.

People in aren't nearly obsessed with right-of-way as Americans - people just sort of figure out on the fly which of them would stop or yield based on whatever made sense. If a pedestrian starts crossing, cars stop. If they just stand there with a hopeful look on their face, they generally don't. Bikes weave in an out of traffic, and no one cares. People go around each other if necessary without posting peevish and petty articles to alternative newspapers demanding change. Nobody throws a hissy fit if a car happens to nose into the crosswalk. Horn honking is more a means of practical communication, not an expression of rage.

The system is just so much more pleasant and functional when different modes of transportation aren't at war with each other.
@43: You're not getting my point, even when using your turn signal the cyclist overpowers the situation. Here's the typical scenario:

1 - Car and cyclist both at stoplight waiting for the green headed the same direction.
2. - Immediately after making it trough the intersection, car wants to turn right at the very next block. Bicyclist is using a "sharrow" bike lane.
3. - Car is just a little ahead of the bicyclist.
4. - Unless car driver is certain that the bicyclist has seen the turn signal is aware and can accommodate the turn, the the driver has no choice but to abandon the turn.
Munich is actually planning on building out a network of bike highways to support faster bike commuting:…
@50 "Unless car driver is certain that the bicyclist has seen the turn signal is aware and can accommodate the turn, the the driver has no choice but to abandon the turn."


No choice? How about choosing to act with the tiniest shred of patience and humanity and waiting for the cyclist to continue straight. There are two pedals down there to choose from, try the one on the left sometime, most of us call it the brake.
@ 50 That little pedal on the left provides the perfect solution to your hypothetical scenario.
"All kinds of people bike everywhere means [...] fashionably dressed women in impossibly stylish shoes bike in expensive dresses—and some of those fashionably dressed women ride boxy cargo bikes. (What's in the cargo box? Her hairdresser? Extra pairs of stylish shoes?) [...] So we rode along pretty slowly after we got "trapped" behind the lady in pink—who wasn't about to risk breaking a sweat in her dress"
Seriously, Dan? That's unusually nasty coming from you, in the old tradition of "a well-dressed woman is surely frivolous". Looks like a kid carrier to me (…), in which case she had plenty of good reasons to go slowly and carefully. And she may well be a working mother, with plenty of good reasons to dress fashionably (not that she would need a reason, right?).
I was recently in London, Paris and Amsterdam. All were flatter than here so they had a lot of 3 speed cruiser bikes that are heavy and had multiple racks (with a passenger riding on the rack fairly often). Those bikes just can't go fast, especially with the added weight, work/going out clothes, the sheer number of bikes on the road, and the biggie... Europeans just don't rush around like we do, they like to take things slower, take their time, they stop and smell the roses. It's a different culture and a different pace of life. It's not just about more bike lanes and bikes, put those same things here and we will still all be in a hurry.
You guys at The Stranger are obviously on (presumably legal) drugs.

This sounds fine.

Helmets don't work, except for those in traffic or kids doing stunts or learning.
I enjoy moving at a high rate of speed regardless of the means of transportation. But you know what I love even more? A higher likelihood of remaining alive without broken body parts. Racing up a hill with a car on my heels can definitely be a rush, but I'd happily choose leisurely checking out people's outfits on a slow crowded path over the vigilant watch for doors, impending death/dismemberment, et al.
Minneapolis has an extensive network of bike trails and designated lanes on our streets. It's fast an efficient and we are the only U.S. city to rank in the top 20 bike-friendly cities in the world, according to annual rankings compiled by the Copenhagenize Index of Bike-Friendly Cities…
So the future isn't all that bleak.
Dan Savage didn’t say he didn’t like it. He said Seattle’s bike activists wouldn’t like it.
Kinda like Burke-Gilman now on a summer weekend
I'm a bike commuter in Copenhagen, and there's generally always space to overtake. If two people ahead are cycling abreast at a lower pace, I just ring my bell a couple of times before I'm right behind them (as in politely signalling my wish to overtake, not get the fuck out of my way you moron). The video is from the most congested intersection in the city at the height of rush-hour, not the general state of traffic all over . . .
A lot like 'crawling along in traffic', only not breathing toxic fumes, able to stop anytime and get another coffee and sandwich, able to stretch and be outside rather than cramped in a tiny box, with lots that is interesting to look at, rather than a gray ribbon of concrete. Pace is not just set by the 'pink lady,' but also by local culture, local scale and pace, and by local regulations (for example, electric-assist is heavily restricted in Europe). I suspect that in America, we will be zooming a a faster pace (at least until people get comfortable with not trying to always go as fast as a car). The Copenhagen commuter (Irish Danish Mutt) has a good point Dan; your bike might have been bell-deficient, which might have crippled your flow.
As has already been said, Munich is not an example of best practices in bike design. The Dutch standards specify that there should generally be enough width in separated cyclepaths to overtake. Obviously in center-city locations its a bit busy and congested, but there are in fact plenty of lycra-clad road cyclists in bike friendly countries.
Are you trying to imply that in the future, we will be well-behaved? Hell's worst business.
Dear Dan, my Frau is a huge of yours. It's a little different here in Munich than you described. While it's absolutely true that it's slower than speedster biking in the US, if you get caught behind someone here, you *ding* them with the mighty weapon that is the Munich Bicycle bell. You have never heard a little bell sound more aggro than when you are minding your own business and maybe a little two far to the left of the lane when someone who is late dings the effing eff out of you from behind. And then you get out of the way. If you pass someone and you really want to let them know that they have transgressed you whisper "zeefix!" under your breath as you pass. This will put them in their place for being slow, and wrong. We might tolerate slower. We do not tolerate wrong.
@50 - So what happens if the driver simply stops? The car explodes like the bus in Speed?

I can't see how a bicycle can possibly force you to abandon a right turn unless your brakes don't work.
European cities tend to be denser, with smaller blocks & narrower streets, so even if you're going slow, you are getting to where you're going pretty quickly, and "faster than walking" enough reason to take a bike.

Seattle bikers, thanks to a variety of factors, do need to get from one part of town to another on a regular basis, often up & down hills, which is why 18+ speed road bikes are popular here.

Separated on-street bike lanes getting too full would a good problem for Seattle to have... If this actually happens, we can deal with it in a variety of ways. 3rd Ave as a bike+transit-only street the whole way, with 10' bike lanes going each direction, say?
That's my blog
Dan Savage, I usually agree with you on a lot of things... but I have to say after reading this ... I think you are an idiot. Honestly really.... what gives you the right to post something this naive and ridiculous? I lived in CPH for 1 year and it's the best thing ever to experience and just because you had ONE WEEK of biking around town you make an ill-informed statement as the title of this blog post. Do your research. You just lost a fan... a well-informed, not quick to judge fan... except when it comes to stupid comments such as this one.
@71 He also bought into the whole "YOGA MAT CHEMICALS IN BREAAAAD" Vani Hari bullshit as well.
My husband and I lived in TĂĽbingen,Germany for a year in the early aughts. I was riding my bike in our incredibly bike-friendly town and ran a red light because, well, I was on a bicycle and there were no cars coming and...USA! USA! Wouldn't you know it, there was a police van set up a little ways away to catch evildoers like me, and I got to be mortally embarrassed by a very nice German policeman, AND I GOT TO PAY A ONE HUNDRED EURO FINE.

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