Cycle Policy – for the first time in Copenhagen (Denmark)

By News Editor / Updated: 12 Dec 2014

In 2002 Copenhagen published a Cycle Policy. The basis for the Cycle Policy is transport quality, covering safety, sense of security, effective travelling speed, health and comfort. The aim of the Cycle Policy is to achieve target goals by 2015. It runs until 2012.

Background & Objectives

In Copenhagen cycling is as a very important means of transport. In a 2010 survey of Copenhagen residents, 84% of residents were found to have acces to a bicycle and 68% to cycle at least once a week. Even among those who cite a car as their primary means fo transport, 15% cycle at least once a week.


For the first time the City has published a Cycle Policy in 2002. The basis for the Cycle Policy is trans-port quality, covering safety, sense of security, effective travelling speed, health and comfort. Conditions will be improved within nine focus areas. The aim of the Cycle Policy is to achieve the following target goals by 2012.


Copenhagen Cycle Policy 2012 objectives:

  • The proportion of people cycling to workplaces in Copenhagen shall increase from 34% to 40%.
  • Cyclists’ risk of serious injury or death shall decrease by 50%.
  • The proportion of Copenhagen cyclists who feel safe cycling in town shall increase from 57% to 80%.
  • Cyclist travelling speed on trips longer than 5 km shall increase by 10%.
  • Cyclists comfort shall be improved so that cycle track surfaces deemed unsatisfactory shall not ex-ceed 5%.


The basic cycling infrastructure in Copenhagen is cycle tracks separated from pedestrians and cars with kerbs. The tracks are situated in both sides of nearly all major streets in Copenhagen, now forming a net-work of 323 km.



Every two years, the City of Copenhagen draws up a so-called Bicycle Account. This is an assessment of what the city has achieved compared to its cycling objectives. The Bicycle Account has been published bi-annually since 1995 and it provides an excellent overview of improvements to the facilities for the city’s cyclists – as well as what could have been done better.


Important findings from the 2010 account (see Copenhagen - City of Cyclists 2010.pdf for more information):

  • Copenhagen cyclist satisfaction has increased in nearly all areas since 2008. The category in which cyclist satisfaction has increased most dramatically, by 8 percentage points, is the perception of Copenhagen as a city for cyclists. In this category as many as 93% think Copenhagen is either very good, good or satisfactory to cycle in.
  • The survey also shows growing satisfaction wtih teh options for combining cycling with public transport. 55% are satisfied or very satsified compared to 49% in 2008. This might be due to fact that in 2010 the DSB (Danish Railways) started allowing bicycles on the S-trains for free.
  • Satisfaction has dropped since 2008 in conditions of cycle tracks, bicycling parking and cycle track widths. This is probably due to the fact that there are now more cyclists in town filling up the bicycle racks and crowding the cycle tracks.
  • Between 2008 and 2010, there was a 2% drop in the proportion of bicycle trips to work, primarily due to the harsh winters. But leaving winter out, cycling has increased overall in 2010.
  • There has been a marked increase in the perceived safety from 51% in 2008 to 67% in 2010. Only 5% of cyclists responded in 2010 that they feel "very unsafe". Serious injury has been cut by more than half from 1996 to 2010 (from 252 serious injuries from cycling per year to 92).
  • 22% of those that have access to a bicycle would cycle more if they felt more safe riding their bicycles. Feeling safter would include having wider cycle tracks and improved road manners.


In 2008, the City of Copenhagen politicians unanimously decided to work towards making Copenhagen a cleaner, healthier and more environmentally friendly city. The politicians set out four main objectives to be achieved by 2015. One of these objectives is that Copenhagen will become the “world’s best city for cyclists”.


Specific bike-related targets for 2015:

  • 80% of city cyclists shall feel safe in traffic by 2015.
  • At least 50% will go to their place of work or education by bike.
  • The number of killed or seriously injured Copenhagen cyclists will be reduced by more than 50% compared to 2005.


See the City of Copenhagen's page on Copenhagen Cycle Policy for up-to-date information on policy measures and evaluation.

Walking and cycling
News Editor
Chelsea Tschoerner
27 Oct 2011
12 Dec 2014