Cycle Guide DK

The Comprehensive Guide to Cycling in Copenhagen and Denmark

Top Ten Tips for Urban Cycling

Here are the top ten tips

  • Before you get on your bicycle and cycle yourself, it is very helpful to first observe how the locals cycle as a bystander. Pay attention to the locals’ cycling speed, how they signal and make turns, where they position themselves at red-lights, how they cross intersections, etc.. If you have an idea of how the locals cycle before you begin to cycle, it will help you to: 1) safely cycle around the city and 2) avoid angering the locals. Although Copenhagen is a very safe city for cyclists, fitting into Copenhagen’s bicycle culture takes time. Observing is a good initial step.
  • This is the golden rule of cycling in Copenhagen. Once you get on your bicycle and decide to cycle around the city, you must stay to the right of the cycle path. Your first impressions may be “Copenhagen is nice for cyclists; I have this nice and wide cycle path separated from cars all to myself.” However, the cycle paths work like auto mobile highways; the more leisurely paced travelers keep to the right allowing space for others to pass on the left. Cyclists are only supposed to be in the left portion of the cycle path when passing another cyclist. Visiting cyclists in Copenhagen naturally cycle slower than the locals since 1) they are unfamiliar with their surroundings and 2) they are looking around like a confused tourist. So, to avoid a collision with a fast-paced local cyclist, and to avoid aggravating the local cyclists, stay to the right.
  • Left, stop, and right. These are the three cycling signals you need to know. Signaling is very important to avoid collisions. Always signal right just before you turn right, and signal left just before turning left. Always use the stop signal when making an atypical stop on the cycle path, or if stopping to go left through a main intersection.
  • Be aware and alert of what is coming up ahead of you. Be attentive and considerate. For example, if you are approaching a crosswalk, anticipate that some pedestrians, especially young children, may attempt to cross and not pay attention to you. More importantly for your own safety, anticipate what you think some cars might do when approaching intersections. Do not put yourself in danger. Also, if you are aware make sure to keep some distance away from parked cars to avoid colliding into an opening car-door.
  • The majority of severe cycling accidents occur when cyclists are not seen by truck and bus drivers. Since the truck and bus drivers have greater blind spots than car drivers, cyclists should never position themselves in a way that could possibly be in a truck or bus driver’s blind spot. Accidents occur when trucks and buses turn right without seeing the cyclists to the right of them, who intend to go straight.
  • It is important not to assume that all other users of the roads will follow the rules. Although Copenhagen is a very safe city to cycle in, and most cyclists and motorists behave in a manner to avoid endangering others, many cycling accidents occur when cyclists assume others will follow the rules, for example, obeying one’s right of way.
  • You may see some cyclists and motorists taking a right turn when the light is red. This is against the law so be sure to obey the traffic lights if you do not wish to be fined. Violators of the traffic rules can be fined up to 500 kroner.
  • Look over your left shoulder before passing other cyclists. Avoid collisions!
  • If you make eye contact with motorists and other cyclists, and make them aware of your intentions, then an accident is less likely to occur.
  • A parked bicycle must be locked, it is a law. Prevent bicycle theft, lock your bike!

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