About the love-hate relationship with the car

By Misch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

The people of Luxembourg love their cars. Hardly any other object is associated with so much emotion. But on the road, world views collide: Enthusiasts drive next to car-dependent road users, sleek sports cars stand next to clunky family carriages. Emotions often run high. But why is the automobile so often an irritant?

A head start through technology? If the advertising slogan is right, Luxembourg is ahead of the game: as of 2020, no other EU country has as many cars per inhabitant as Luxembourg: 696 cars per 1,000 inhabitants are registered here. By way of comparison, Germany has 580 and France 570. Anyone driving on the roads of the Grand Duchy can hardly avoid taking a deep look at this popularity in the reliably occurring traffic jams. The "joy of driving" can suffer. Whether the idea for the petition to ban bicycles from rural roads for "safety" and "environmental protection" originated in traffic jams or not, it shows a trend – just like the counter-initiative to ban cars there for the same reasons: the mood of road users is often irritated. Sometimes this degenerates into road-rage brawls on the open road, more often into small to international discussions in which both sides want to refer to scientific facts and foresight while accusing the other of "backwardness", "ideology" and "hostility to technology". And in the middle, in the words of VW: the car.

It is precisely this black-and-white painting that Vania Henry, responsible for marketing communications and product development at the Automobile Club of Luxembourg (ACL) complains about. "We think it's a shame that people are so polarised. It's hugely important that different perspectives are represented, but understanding and coexistence are the bottom line." This in itself should be all the easier because "while most of our members drive, they also often cycle and walk." Especially on social media, one sees a lot of aggressiveness, although the mobility situation requires cooperation.

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