Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rush Hour in Copenhagen?

Is this a bike race? Some charity event? Perhaps an unusual tour group that opted to ride instead of walk around Copenhagen? WRONG!

The pictures above show rush hour, Danish style. Did you know Denmark is the second largest country in Europe to use bike cycles as a primary form of transportation (after the Netherlands)? EVERYONE bikes here, to work, to school, to parties, for shopping (i.e. after one of the ballet's I went to see, I saw one of the musicians getting on his bike, instrument strapped to the back). The number one crime in Denmark is bike theft.

For us exchange students from countries not so predisposed to this environmentally friendly method of commute, learning to adjust to the prevalence of bikes took some getting use too. First thing I had to be cognizant of was "Do NOT walk in the bike lanes." They have dedicated bike lanes here and woe to the pedestrian who wonders into this privileged space, you will get a loud bike horn in your ear! Next I had to be aware that bikes are everywhere and to pay just as much attention to them as to the cars.

Within the first few weeks when I was here, I was very apologetic if I got a dirty look from a biker, assuming I had made the mistake on the street. Than I read up on the rules and now I'm an educated walker and know my rights! For example on the sidewalk bikers have to walk their bike, anyone riding is in violation of the law and I don't care if you are in a rush, you are in the wrong and I'm not yielding! You are not suppose to bike in the park, again walk it, if you think you're going to be real slick and try to get away with it, don't expect me to help. At pedestrian cross-walks, you bikers have to stop as well, so I will walk through when the light is green and I don't care if you are coming up at a 100 miles per hour and fall over, you know the rules, don't try to pull one over on me. Well you get the picture, it seems even as a pedestrian I can be an aggressive little thing...

But I had to write about this very interesting facet of life in Denmark!


Blogger mommanator said...

Yes, you can barge on thru, but you may be the one who gets hurt?
I don't think I would tangle with a bike, but thats me. Walker beware? they love bikes her where I live in Fla, so I too am always wary of them!

6:30 PM  
Anonymous JoeInVegas said...

Lot easier to walk in front of a bike doing wrong than a car. Keep it up, and I hope we don't have photos of a leg cast posted.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Merci said...

How do the Danes handle it? Do pedestrians customarily yield to cyclists, or do they assert their rights?

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like a much saner traffic jam than the kind we get.

3:06 PM  
Blogger my mind wanders said...

I found a very funny Youtube video about riding bikes in the Netherlands! Sounds like it is the same there! :-)

7:58 PM  
Blogger Virginia Gal said...

Mommnator - yes you are right about that, I didn't think of what injury could come from barrelling through a bike...good point! I will be more wary : )

Joe - God I hope I not, no more casts for this girl!

Merci - Danes are not like us in the US, I find here, he who has the bigger presence i.e. a bike vs. a walker, biker bigger, wins.

Citizen - oh yes, they really don't have much of traffic in the traditional sense we would consider...yay!!

My Mind - I bet it is very similar, bikes are a culture here like they are in Holland : )

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