The United States Secretary of Transportation wants to learn Danish cycling culture

| April 20, 2016

US Secretary Anthony Foxx (left) & Danish Minister of Transport and Building Hans Christian Schmidt (right). Credit: Danish Cyclists’ Federation

Monday April 18th the US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, took part in a bike ride through Copenhagen where Klaus Bondam, the CEO of the Danish Cyclists’ Federation, spoke about Danish cycling culture and how Copenhagen had overcome many of issues now facing cycling in the US. When asked whether it was possible for the US to learn from Denmark, Klaus Bondam had the following response:

“In the US the average car trip is 5 kilometres long – the same as in Denmark – and there is a huge potential for supporting cycling in American cities. As such we are quite happy that the highest levels of US administration wishes to see how it is done in Denmark. We are about to see both the Bicycle Snake and Cirkelbroen, both examples of how to create accessibility and connectivity for Copenhagen’s cyclists in an innovative, aesthetic, and beautiful way”.

Asked why Denmark? Secretary Foxx added: “Denmark is renown throughout the world for integrating cyclists and pedestrians in transportation, and Danish cycling culture is fantastic. The belief in it [Danish cycling culture] and the use of it means cyclists interact as part of your system of transport. It is fascinating to watch how the bicycle culture has really grabbed a hold of you”.

The bike trip was hosted by Hans Christian Schmidt, the Danish Minister of Transport and Building, and included the mayors of Austin, Portland, and South Bend. Klaus Bondam and the Danish Cyclists’ Federation were invited to speak on Danish solutions to cycling, an interest which is widely shared across many countries according to Klaus Bondam:

“Through the Cycling Embassy of Denmark we experience a lot of international attention towards Danish bicycle solutions, and it is an obvious international tendency that the bicycle is increasingly viewed as the solutions to rising problems of congestion and mobility in cities. Within the embassy there is a thorough knowledge on planning and promoting bicycle culture. We are just a phone call away” says Klaus Bondam.

The bike ride took the group across the Bicycle Snake (Cykelslangen) continuing over Bryggebroen and Cirkelbroen, before ending at the Christiansborg Castle housing the Danish parliament. All three bridges are excellent examples of Copenhagen’s bike infrastructure which have been the subject of international admiration. Following the bike ride Secretary Foxx had the following to say about Copenhagen and Denmark:

“In the US we have fast growing cities, we have challenges with congestion and long travel times. People are looking for a greater mix of transportation and what you have done here is nothing short of astounding”.

Before the bike ride the entire American delegation also visited Gehl Architects to get a glimpse of how Gehl’s world famous architecture has shaped Copenhagen towards a more bike friendly city.

Naturally several members of the Cycling Embassy of Denmark took part in the bike ride. Including the Danish Road Directorate, and of course the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen. Later that same day Klaus Bondam talked to the entire group of American guests at Christiansborg Castle on Danish cycling culture, and how great conditions for cyclists can help create a more liveable city.


The Cycling Embassy of Denmark has had an amazing cooperation with the American organisation People For Bikes, who visit us each year to exchange ideas and learn from the Danes. People For Bikes also wrote about the secretary’s visit here.

You can read more about Gehl Architects here.

You can read more on the bikes used by the delegation at the GoBike webpage.

Read what the Mayor of Austin Steve Adler had to say about Copenhagen here.

Read the official blog post from the U.S. Department of Transportation here.

Category: Danish Cycling Know How, Events with the Participation of the Cycling Embassy, Newsletters in English, Uncategorized