Okay okay.. It’s probably something everyone has had before. Yet I still get confused when someone uses their cars horn for no good reason. This is also due to the Germany – unlike traffic in Italy and China, we do not reflexively use our horns every 15 seconds to announce our presence (which is probably stereotyping, and yet that’s how it appears to me when I go visit).

So … erm … on the road that I take to work, two people felt the need to gesture towards the footpath and honk their horns. One of them even lowered his window and shouted “get on the bikepath” – which probably indicates good intentions, but sadly the person in question was misinformed. There is no bikepath, just a footpath with “cyclists allowed” – which in semi-legal terms means that cyclists are allowed on there, but pedestrians have every right of way and cyclists are limited to pedestrian speeds (around 6km/h over here – not sure how fast people on foot are elsewhere).

Every time I grumbled the rest of the way (once to work, once home) and kept wondering what was wrong with people. And so on. And so forth.

I assume more people have written about this – more humorously – than I can, so I’ll stop here.

However – and this might be new – I got data. As I had written an email to the city council about a “hidden” exit from a hotel (framed by concrete walls roughly 1.5m high on both sides) endangering cyclists and pedestrians alike, I know the official traffic numbers for that stretch of road. A-ha!

20.000 cars are counted on that road in each direction over 24 hours. Which is quite a lot, I suppose. Not motorway traffic, obviously, but still quite busy.

I travel that road every day twice (to and fro and all that) and the trip is 3.4km in length (one way). At an average speed of 24km/h (let’s be generous for a moment) I thus spend 8.5 minutes on the road each way. So roughly 17 minutes a day.

At 230 work days that equals 3910 minutes or 65 hours or almost three days (let’s be generous again).

Sooo… during the course of a year, I apparently share that little strip of road with roughly 60.000 motorists (and this number is wrong*).

And out of those, there were two silly buggers. 1 in 30.000. That’s not too bad, actually. It’s still massively better than the number of silly buggers on the interwebs. Like here: The ratio of silly buggers to normal people is 271 to 30.000.


(*) Why the number of motorists is wrong: the 20k cars/lorries per day are averaged over 24 hours, while I travel during morning and evening rush hours. It’s when I work, it can’t be changed. As there is almost no traffic during the night and noticeably lower during the day, I assume the actual number of cars is higher by a factor of at least two, possibly more. More exact data was not available (unless I count – and who’d be willing to do that .. pffft).