Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The day Swedish drivers swapped sides


Get Up & Go guest blogger David Ellis says that when Sweden decided to change to driving on the right side of the road 49 years ago this month, more than 80% of drivers opposed the idea saying it would result in roadway carnage.

After all, they argued, Swedes had been driving on the left side of the road since the first horses and buggies hit the streets 233 years before in 1734.

But with all neighbouring countries driving on the right-hand side of the road, and the majority of Sweden’s vehicles being left-hand drive imports, the government swept aside public opposition, and decreed in 1963 that driving on the right-hand side of the road would become law at 5am on 3 September 1967.

A massive education program was initiated called Dagen H (Dagen meaning “day” and H for Hogertrafik “right-hand traffic.”) Dagen H logos were printed on everything from milk cartons to bras, 130,000 Dagen H reminder signs erected along roadways nationwide, and Dagen H stickers slapped on anything that moved.

CHANGING from driving on the left-hand side of the road to the
right-hand side had its confusion for drivers in Sweden in 1967, but the country survived.

One-way roads, crossings, roundabouts and flyovers had to be redesigned, and 360,000 road signs were changed country-wide. Traffic lights were reversed and road lines repainted during the night before the change-over– and buses had to have new passenger doors cut into their right-hand sides.


Then on 3 September only essential vehicles were allowed from 0100 to 0600, with these forced to stop at 0450, and at 0500 to cross carefully to the other side of the road.

And on the first “working Monday” after, there were 125 non-fatal traffic accidents nationwide – compared with 198 normally.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Southern Wonderland




Get Up & Go guest blogger David Ellis resides in the Southern Highlands, south of Sydney, and he says that if you’re a green thumb and into all things florally and Springtime, the place to head this month is the NSW Southern Highlands.

Just an hour or so south of Sydney, one of Australia’s oldest and most-visited floral festivals will attract something like 65,000 visitors for the 65th annual Tulip Time from 13-25 September.

Ablaze at Bowral’s famed Corbett Gardens will be 75,000 tulips and 15,000 annuals, and with a theme of Alice in Wonderland, garden bed displays will cleverly depict such scenes as the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, the Cheshire Cat, Big Clock, Playing Cards and more.



And a further 40,000 tulips will add more rainbows of colour to parks and gardens across the Southern Highlands’ other major towns of Mittagong and Moss Vale, and a score of surrounding picturesque villages.

On Saturday 17 September a Street Parade through Bowral will include marching bands, floats, vintage farm equipment, street performers, a procession of classic cars – and 140 cyclists who’ll have just pedalled down from Sydney raising money for brain cancer research.



As well a heritage steam train will bring scores of other visitors from Sydney for not just the gardens, but the region’s internationally-famed street dining and shopping, and a Tulip Time market-place crammed with local foodstuffs and beverages, home-wares, clothing and jewellery… while awaiting wine buffs will be the area’s famed boutique wineries.

It’s a long way from Bowral’s first 500-bulb Tulip Time in 1960; for information and free assistance with booking accommodation call1300 657 559, or visit www.southern-highlands.com.au to book online.