City of Copenhagen Cycle Policy 2002-2012

City of Copenhagen [Roads & Parks Department]
Publication date: 
June 2002
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Copenhagen is known far and wide as the “City of Cyclists” – due to its longstanding and lively cycling tradition and, in recent years, its City Bikes.

In Copenhagen, cycle planning is an integral part of main-stream traffic planning. The cycle track network was already partially completed in the 1960s and 70s although there were much fewer link-ups between cycle track sections then than there are today. Despite the fact that many people bought cars in the 60s and 70s, Copenhageners continued to cycle. Cycling is a socially acceptable means of transport and it is not uncommon to see Danish ministers or mayors riding their bicycles to work. Currently bicycle traffic accounts for a significant proportion of Copenhagen traffic – comparable to public transport and private cars. One out of three Copenhageners cycle to work.

The Copenhagen cycle track network was built over the course of almost a century. The cycle track network consists of cycle tracks on both sides of the major roads with a total cycle track length of over 300 kilometres. Normally cycle tracks are wider than two meters across. Copenhagen bicycle traffic is thus considered a distinct traffic category with its own separate road area – on a par with motor traffic and pedestrian traffic.

Bicycle traffic in Copenhagen has grown in recent years. This has occurred in spite of the fact that the national trend is that people cycle less. A sustained effort on the part of the City is a prerequisite for maintaining the level of bicycle traffic and an even greater effort is necessary to increase the number of cyclists. In 2002 the City budget for road construction was DKK 60 million, one third of which was earmarked for the improvement of cycling conditions.

For the first time the City of Copenhagen is publishing a cycle policy, the purpose of which is to draw attention to the fact that cycling is an environmentally desirable and effective means of transport and also to coordinate initiatives for improvements of cycling conditions. For the past five years the city has published a Bicycle Account which has already provided an input for cycle planning. In future the Bicycle Account will be used to follow up on the goals
set forth in the cycle policy.

The cycle policy goals are to increase the proportion of the workforce who cycle to work, to improve safety and a sense of security when cycling and to increase travelling speed and cycling comfort. The goals are to be met within 11 years.