Danes support children’s right to bike

| August 12, 2015
Danish Cyclists' Federation, Mikkel Østergaard (2)

Danes want better conditions for children to bike. Photo: Danish Cyclists’ Federation

According to new data from Statistics Denmark, 96% of the Danish population thinks more should be done to give more children the opportunity to bike in Denmark.

By Lotte Malene Ruby, Danish Cyclists’ Federation

Close to every other child regularly bikes to school in Denmark. Compared to other countries, this is a lot. But when compared to Denmark 25 years ago, it is not quite as rosy a scenario. Back then, close to 70 % of Danish school children biked to school regularly.

Today, we know that active transport habits are crucial in terms of children’s health, well-being, and learning. The new statistics reflect this tendency as 96 % of the population wants more children to get the opportunity to bike to school again.

A clear signal to decision makers
“The numbers send a clear message to decision makers at both the local and national level that children’s opportunities to bike is something that the entire population has at heart. We (still) have a strong bicycle culture in Denmark, but it is threatened. Many places around the country, families quite simply do not have the choice to let their children bike to school either due to unsafe school routes or too long distances because of schools merging,” says Klaus Bondam, CEO of the Danish Cyclists’ Federation.

Data from the survey “Children’s Bicycle Habits” carried out by the company Megafon for the Danish Cyclists’ Federation in 2014 show that the length and security of the school route constitute the two main barriers for children cycling to school.

Change requires action
The survey also shows that the share of children who cycle to school has stabilized at 47 % over the past five years. But according to Klaus Bondam, it requires a greater and more systematic effort to turn things around so more children will start cycling again.

“We can see that not least ‘soft’ measures like the Danish Cyclists’ Federation’s ‘Bike to School’ campaign has helped stabilize the development in recent years. But we must do more if we are to get more children to bike again and harvest all the benefits in the shape of better health, well-being, and learning. This requires a systematic effort, political priority and – not least – funding from both the state and the municipalities,” emphasizes Klaus Bondam.

This is a translation of an article from www.cyklistforbundet.dk.

Category: Children, Research

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