Every day Copenhageners in total travel 660.000 kilometers by metro but cycle 1.31 million kilometres - almost double the amount. Maybe that’s why biking lanes in Melbourne, Australia are called Copenhagen lanes.
Copenhagen has almost 400 km bicycle tracks and lanes. With more than one third of the population in Copenhagen commuting daily by bike, 1.31 million kilometers are ridden on bicycle in Copenhagen - every day.
The International Cycling Union, UCI, appointed Copenhagen to be the first official Bike City in the world from 2008-2011.
The Copenhagen City Bike
The City Bike is synonymous with Copenhagen. In fact, the official gift from The City of Copenhagen to American president Bill Clinton, when he visited Copenhagen in 1997, was a specially designed city bike called 'City Bike One'. The new 2013 edition of the Copenhagen City Bike is an intelligent bike with special features as a touchscreen tablet and build in GPS making it easy to get around. The City bikes are available for rent 24/7, 365 days a year for only DKK 20 pro hour. Right now, you will find 50 city bikes around in Copenhagen. From end March 2014 250 more is to be found and in August 2014 all 2,000 city bikes will be in the city scene.
Middle class families and top politicians
Though cycling is the cheapest mean of transportation next to walking Copenhageners love their bikes no matter their financial income. Many middle class families with kids in Copenhagen don't even own a car. They use their bikes to commute to work, bringing the kids to kindergarten etc. In fact 25 percent of all families with two kids in Copenhagen have a cargo bike.
Even top politicians ride their bike every day to parliament. A majority (63 percent) of the members of the Danish parliament, located at Christiansborg Castle in the middle of Copenhagen, commute by bike.
As a first time visitor in Copenhagen the amount of bicycles on the streets can be overwhelming. But you will soon realize, that life in Copenhagen is based on bicycles as a very important means of transportation.
With almost 400 km bicycle tracks and lanes and traffic lights especially for bikes, the city's infrastructure is build on the fact that a bicycle is not only the cheapest, healthiest and fastest way to get around the city, it is also a very important factor in reducing carbon emission. Therefore bicycle culture is a vital part of the city administrations ambition to become the first carbon neutral capital in the world by 2025.
With more than one third of the population in Copenhagen commuting daily by bike, cities around the world are being inspired by Copenhagen to increase usage of bicycles as a means of transportation. Biking is mutually beneficial. Bikers save money, get exercise and spare the environment for co2 emission. Reasons to promote cycling are various.
Copenhagens ambitious goal for 2015 is that 50% of all who work in Copenhagen will commute by bike according to the City of Copenhagen's environmental plan, ECO-METROPOLE OUR VISION 2015, which together with other green initiatives, works towards making Copenhagen the world's best biking city. The latest result (from 2013) show that as of now 43 % of all who work in Copenhagen commute by bike.
Around the world Copenhagenizing has now become a phenomenon in the process of getting more people to leave the car and take a bike.
Green light for cyclists
There are only a few places in the world, where you will find traffic lights specifically for cyclists. But in Copenhagen, you'll see the miniature traffic lights many places, especially at heavily trafficked crossroads. The clearly marked blue bike lanes also increase traffic safety for the cyclist.
To get a more safe and smooth traffic for the massive amount of cyclists and their fellow road-users the Danish government has from January 1st introduced more expensive fines for violating the traffic law which means that cyclists now will be fined 1000 DDK for crossing a red light and 700 DKK for driving on the pavement or without any lamp, as well as many other fines for other traffic offences.