Anniversary of a reform

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Fourty years ago this week, on September 3, Swedish traffic moved to the right side of the road. This was a drastic change and also against the popular vote in the referendum some years ago. Still the idea had been conceived before, by Carolus XII in early 18th century. However at that time it was never accepted (and the king was killed in war in Norway) so for some decades it was not quite clear what side of the road actually was the right one (NB the pun!). Eventually everyone reverted back to the left side, until 1967 that is.

I still have a local instruction book from the change, with an introduction by the town board chairman. “In a time with increasing communication between countries, the change should substantially contribute to increased traffic security on our roads – and lowered risks for accidents for us who drive on the continent.” The cost for changes in the road system in connection with the reform in this medium size town was 1,4 million SEK, of which most was actually paid by the Swedish government.

We still wait for the commonwealth to follow.

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