[The] bike paths are plowed all winter. The roads, not so much!
Josie from House Sitting Travel
Do you remember when in December I wrote how in Copenhagen bikes had already outnumbered the cars? Cycling Embassy of Denmark also reported that nine out of ten Danes own a bike. Now, I have stumbled upon an interesting perspective of a foreigner on biking in Denmark. Below is a fragment of Josie’s post. For an entire article and for her photos of Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen biking culture, head to her article >> here.
At the top of the heap are the long-distance racers. The Tour de Denmark passed by our home where we were house sitting outside Copenhagen, and took 2+ hours for all the participants and chase cars to go by.
Then there’s everyone else: school children in packs, moms with the kids “in a box,” (cargo-fitted bike in which little children sit in a box in front of the bike’s handle bars, complete with a cover for rainy days), high-heeled ladies and suited men commuting, workers carrying everything from ladders or building supplies on heavy-duty cargo bikes, grannies running errands, or dressed-up lovers on a date. The everyday bikes are solid, heavy things with three gears, baskets, a key-operated locking system, and mandatory lights for night rides. The rider sits up straight on a nicely-cushioned seat.
The rules of cycling are paramount in Denmark, as with everything. It’s an extremely precise society. Following the biking rules is simply understood by all, even the smallest children, and the whole of Denmark falls into line. Conrad says, “Denmark is math. Spain is music.” Indeed, every aspect of Danish life is math.
The first time Conrad and I rode bikes in Denmark in 2010, I made the grave mistake of riding on the pedestrian sidewalk. The glares I received still make me feel guilty! Now six years later, house sitting here again, I neglected to make a correct hand signal at a roundabout, causing a driver to honk, and upon getting my attention, angrily demonstrating the right signal with his own arm. They really, really like their rules in Denmark.
The infrastructure has been meticulously set up to accommodate bicycles. For example, there are intersections in Copenhagen where the pavement arrows and TRAFFIC LIGHTS are all for bikes. Yes, there are bone fide traffic lights dedicated to bicycles! It’s an intricate system for navigating around cars and pedestrians, and the Danes do it better than anyone. Rush hour is a frenetic but lovely dance, choreographed by innovative civil engineers, and the results are mind-boggling. People walking, biking, and driving, all with their own rules and beautifully laid-out paths and signals. It works perfectly.
Source: House Sitting Travel
Photo Credit: Chris Barbalis on Unsplash.com