Thursday, June 13, 2019

Danish Bicycling Etiquette

Copenhagen is the most bicycle friendly city in the world. 62% of residents ride a bike daily to work or education in the city – Photo source

On 5th of May in 1849, King Frederik signed the Denmark Constitution, which marked the start of a constitutional monarchy, so every May 5th Denmark celebrates its Constitutional Day, and if the beginning of summer treats them gently, Danish people spend today outdoors enjoying open-faced smorrebrod sandwiches on rye bread paired with hyldeblomstsaft. 
But there is one activity what they do throughout the year for sure – cycling! Did you know that Danish people have been dedicated cyclists for centuries? 

This is the so called Danish way of expressing equality between all social classes, and Copenhagen prides itself on being one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. Thanks to Simply Danish Living, I know that more than 45% of all people use the bicycle as their main means of transportation. In the Danish business culture,  many workplaces have a changing room set aside for bikers and it is very common to see top level business professionals in suits biking to and from work. 

So let's briefly explore the Danish cycling etiquette for a safer and more enjoyable ride while in Denmark:
  • Use hand signals! Left hand up- you are stopping, Hand out to the right - you are turning right, hand to the left means you are turning left. Simple.
  • If you are going fast, stay outside, going slow, stay inside, and please always be aware of others, always look over your shoulder before you pull out.
  • Do not listen your music too loudly, because you cannot hear what's going on around you (ambulance, buses, cyclists etc).
  • Do not use your phone, no calls no text messages, unless you can manage it handsfree. In Denmark you can easily get a fine for using your phone while biking.
  • In the darker months, you have to be even more visible, so be sure you have your lights on, and reflectors.
  • Please, don't cycle with your buddy side-by-side - it's annoying.
  • For your and others' safety, please always follow the signs and obey the rules.

Imagine, statistics show that three of the busiest bike streets in Copenhagen boast on average 40,700, 36,000, and 30,200 cyclists per day.

Gabriella Kanyok is a diplomatic protocol, etiquette and communication expert with more than 10 years' experience in working with EU institutes, NGOs, internaionalorganisations, and supporting professionals. She not only advises and trains government- and EU officials, and businessmen in the field of diplomatic protocol and business etiquette, but she leads the communication department of an international organisation. Gabriella holds a Master’s degree in International Studies, and a Master’s in Protocol, Diplomacy and Cross Cultural Relations. She speaks Hungarian, English and French, and is currently learning Mandarin Chinese.

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

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