Not since the 90’s, have the Danes cycled as much as they did in 2014. But a new long-term national cycling fund is needed if this development is to continue.
By Lasse Skou Hauschildt
More funds required to maintain current level
The national cycling fund which the Danish Cyclists’ Federation got approved after intense lobbying now reveals its effects. Numbers from The Danish Road Directorate show that cycling has increased in Denmark four years in a row, peaking in 2014.
The Danish Cyclists’ Federation is pleased with the positive development. But without further long-term investments, it may not last long according to CEO of the Danish Cyclists’ Federation, Klaus Bondam: “It is great to know that it works, but the efforts must be continued – and preferably reinforced. As it is now, the cycling funds are empty after 2015.”
The five-year cycling fund, worth €130 M, was a big breakthrough when it was passed in the traffic agreement in 2009. In June 2014, the Danish government set aside a one-year fund worth €24 M for Cycle Super Highways and better parking facilities. Later that same year, a cycling fund of € 6.6 M was set up for general cycling purposes. The next major traffic agreement is not scheduled until 2020. Thus, decision makers need to work on a long-term financial solution according to Klaus Bondam:
“€ 130 M was a fine sum in 2009 when the baseline was € 0. But we need a lot more money on the table because we have picked the low-hanging fruits now. A multiannual fund would give the municipalities a time horizon they can work with.”
In the Danish newspaper, Politiken, Danish Minister of Transport, Magnus Heunicke, states that he is positive towards further investments in cycling:
”We have invested heavily in cycling in previous years, but other countries are beginning to follow in our tracks, and it would be a shame to be overtaken.”
The minister would also have liked a new multi-annual fund at the last traffic agreement:
”But we did get €30 M euro this year  including significant funds for safe bicycle parking at stations and other projects.”
Not only the Minister of Transport is positive. In relation to the coming election, the Danish Cyclists’ Federation has asked the candidates about their opinion on the current level of investments in cycling of around €30 M euro a year.
The answer from a solid 48 % is that the government should increase investments in cycling while 45 % thinks that the current level of investments should continue. Only 4 % is for a reduction or complete removal of investments in cycling.
The Danish Cyclists’ Federation is happy with the statements but underlines that they have to be followed up by action:
”It is of course wonderful that the politicians show support, but we need action. Support from the state is completely crucial for cycling in Denmark. The municipalities cannot do the job alone, and especially in the periphery municipalities we see a need for help, so that cycling does not increase a disparity in health. We will most certainly hold the coming government responsible for their promises of long-term investments in cycling,” says Klaus Bondam.