Denmark in general and Copenhagen in particular are considered to have one of the most widespread bicycling culture in the World. Almost everyone here, from small children to elderly ladies, ride a bike. Going to work and returning home, dropping in at supermarket for shopping, going out with friends, delivering mail and goods, using a mobile phone, playing with a baby, scratching a leg, flirting, kissing… – a lot of things are done on this two-wheeled mean of transportation here.

Such vast usage of bicycles is not a big surprise if you consider high fares on public transportation in Copenhagen, for instance. So, if you live far from school / university / work and like to go around the city a lot, in the long run buying a two-wheeled friend is more effective from the financial and convenience points of view.

In the UniversityPost article “Danish Cycling Etiquette” they state that there are certain biking rules that the Danes follow carefully and that foreigners should consider in order not to get into some unpleasant situations. But do the Danes themselves always follow these “bike lane rules”? My daily observations “on the road” show the contrary.

Of course, you can see many cyclists stopping at the red light and waiting even if there are neither cars nor pedestrians. Still, not all are that patient: here goes the first “rule-breaker”, then the second, and so on. Automobiles and road-crossing people will allow them pass by, as bikes have the highest priority on the roads here.

What about the stopping / turning signals? Well, if suddenly you are made to press hard on your brakes because some lady in front decided to stop near a fancy dress shop without prior signalling, do not be surprised – this is quite usual situation I get into every week.

Some cyclists may behave quite boldly and use full flexibility of bicycle riding. When a Copenhagen citizen is in a hurry, and there is a busy bike lane in front, he / she sees no problem in changing to a big road or to a pedestrian pavement. Sometimes you can even observe a cyclist going by the same lane, but in the opposite direction. And, of course, crossing the car road in places with no traffic lights seems to become commonplace.

But what if you are in a hurry? Then there is nothing worse than a couple in deep love riding side-by-side ahead of you and totally ignoring the whole World around them. Well, actually, it can get even worse, if this couple has tricycles with large baskets in front (used for transporting goods, dogs, or kids… or even everything at once). If you are a careful rule-follower, then such situations are excellent opportunities to test your patience.

There are many more cases of Copenhagen residents not following their own “cycling etiquette”, but in general I should confirm that the Danes are more or less diligent here. Thus, following the biking rules is like showing respect to other cyclists. And there is a saying: “Respect creates respect”.

In exchange for being a decent cyclist you get a wonderful biking experience without any angry shouts in your address, but with marvellous views of the Denmark’s colourful capital, Copenhagen, and a rich collection of girls’ panties before you (sorry, but with all the shirt skirts and transparent tights it is hard not to notice).

M-m… There’s a nicely looking blond girl passing by… Want to enjoy the beauty? Then put some pressure on those pedals and let the chase begin!

Filed under: Denmark: Behind the Curtain

2010-10-27 23:50:20


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