By Troels Andersen, City of Odense
The infrastructure is the basic for developing a cycle culture. Most major cities in Denmark do have rather fine facilities for cyclists even though the cycle net still needs to be extended and improved. The major Danish cities do have 300 – 500 kilometres of cycle paths each, and a few missing links holds them from finishing the work. Today, some cities are just 5 – 10 % from completing the overall master plan for cycle infrastructure which normally has been an ongoing job through more than 30 years.
Denmark has had cycle paths for more than a century and started when the iron horses needed separate tracks away from the nails left from horse riding. Cycling did overtake the role of horses for transportation, and especially during the 1960s, the need for protection from the fast growing car traffic increased.
In general, cycle infrastructure in Denmark consists of single directional cycle paths in each side of the road, placed in between the pedestrians and the cars. The recommended width is 2.2 meters.
Safe cyclists cycle more often – 20 % more than without the paths just as a start.Cyclists need cycle paths to feel safe, and special solutions at crossings, traffic lights, and roundabouts. Safety is also crucial to attract children and elderly. Cycling actually underlines the sense of democracy in Denmark – we want to have room for everybody.