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Feb 8, 2020
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The Essentials About Cycling In Denmark

Jaroš Vyhňák
It is true. The statistics state that 9 out of 10 Danes own a bike. On the other hand, there are only 2,1 million cars in Denmark, less than half of the population which is currently on 5,75 million people.
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Denmark is the country where bike is one of the most common methods of transportation. In fact, only Netherland beats Denmark when it comes to biking.

In Denmark the roads are designed to accommodate cyclists, in that they generally have their own lane at a safe distance from the cars, making cycling a much more comfortable option.

Its also an escape from the costly transportation system in Denmark, especially for students as it is very easy to find the used bikes for cheap online and you can commute easily around the city.

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Cycling in Denmark is definitely one of the best forms of transportation around the city. As about 60% of Danes use cycle to go for work and school every day, there are certain rules to be followed strictly in Denmark, else you will be fined.

What are the basic cycling rules in Denmark

Lights!

Denmark is dark, especially in the winter! When it is dark all cyclists are required by law to have both front and rear lights on.

  • A good rule of thumb is when the street lights are on, you need to have lights on your bike as well!

Both of these lights need to be fixed on the bike and be visible from 300 meters.

If you get stopped by the police without lights, you can get fined up to 500 DKK per light.

We would recommend fixed magnet lights from the supermarket, they are cheap and have easy battery change so you always can stay visible and safe.

Depending on the area you live or park your cycles, there are chances people can steal your cycle lights, this was what I personally heard when I went to buy lights for my own bike. You can get the detachable lights which can cost up to 50 kroner. You can easily take off the lights when you are parking your cycle somewhere and keep it with you, and attach it later again as and when needed.

Reflectors

Your bike needs to have reflectors installed all the time to be legal.

You need to have them installed on your wheels, pedals and also front and rear.

And they need to be there regardless of the time of the day or season.

  • Remember reflectors on your person can also be very helpful to other people

Ring ring!

All bikes need to have a functioning bell on their handlebar. 

You are probably not going to use it as much since people in Denmark tend to be very well behaved on a bike, however you can get fined up to 500 DKK if the police catch you without a bell.

And it does not cost you a lot either. You can find it around 20-30 kroner on Tiger shops.

Brakes

This one might be a bit obvious, but all the bicycles need to have functioning brakes on both wheels. Remember to change the brake pads if they are worn and these are fairly affordable. When buying a new bike, be aware of the position of the brakes as bikes can be made with or without foot breaks, but always have hand breaks.

  • Brakes have to be in good condition, otherwise yeah you guessed it, you'll be fined!

Hand gestures (Important!)

In Denmark, it is required to signal when turning right/left or stopping the bike. When you turn right, you need to take your right arm straight out to signal that you are turning right and left arm when turning left. If you need to stop completely you should raise your hand up to signal that you are going to stop.

  • Remember to signal whenever you are turning left/right or need to stop the bike. You may be fined if the police see you turning without signaling.
source: cycleguide.dk

Helmets

This may not be the most important, as many people do not use it. But for some extra safety, it is good to have the helmets on. 

Beware of the Winds

Yes! Winds, the crazy Danish weather which everyone talks about. Though you may not see a lot of snow in Denmark, its windy out here. You need to be prepared to cycle in wind or rain situation. If you are not pro at cycling, keep your cycle at home when it’s windy, for safety reasons.

Bike from home or buy in Denmark?

What is better? Of course, it depends.

Generally, the wisest idea would be taking the value of the bike into consideration.

Denmark is a safe country but that doesn’t mean that your bicycle won’t get stolen. And the more expensive the bike is, the higher the likelihood that it would be an attractive steal.

However, second-hand bikes are often very cheap and in good condition, if you are not a devout cyclist. A good, functional bike can easily cost under 1.000 DKK on market places such as dba.dk or Facebook market place. 

Cycling rules in Denmark

  • Always ride on the right side.
  • Hand gestures are very important while going right, left or when you are stopping in between.
  • Do not ride in the pedestrian area. If there is no cycling path, just keep on riding on the right side.
  • Follow the traffic rules. If they have cycling traffic lights great, follow them otherwise follow the normal traffic light signals.
  • Cycle paths are only for cycling if you are tired and want to walk, do not walk on the cycling path. Get out of your bike lane.
  • Be it during dark hours or anytime on the day time when the visibility is poor, both the lights are the must.
  • You are not allowed to have someone on your back seat, unless its a child and have a child seat on the back.
  • Always stop when the bus stops, wait for the passenger to get out of the bus and have the doors closed.
  • Never have your friend on the side riding if the cycle lane is too small and it’s very difficult to overtake for other riders.
  • Alcohol rules apply to cyclists as well. Do not drunk drive. This may risk your life as well as get you fined if you are caught.
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Jaroš Vyhňák
🇨🇿
I came to Denmark in August 2015 with a vision. I wanted to study, work, receive some government support, get a degree, and leave back to the Czech Republic. Aside from studying, nothing went according to plan. It took me many months to settle down the way I wanted to, and somewhere in the process, I fell in love with this country. Now I would like to give something back. Not only did I fall in love in Denmark, but also with Latin dances, which became my life passion. Aside from that, I enjoy a good beer, even better company, and other basic things in life.‍
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