Danish to GO!

According to statistics collected by the VCOe (Traffic Club Austria), Denmark ranked highest in the average number of bicycle kilometers ridden per person in 2006. The average distance cycled was 954 kilometers (593 miles).

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Bicycling has not always been so popular in Denmark, but the oil embargo of the early 70's taught them a lesson as to what would happen if cheap, plentiful oil was no longer available. Other problems related to the use of cars were air pollution, parking problems, urban flight, and traffic gridlock. The government, city planners, and traffic engineers implemented bicycle friendly transportation policies which transformed the country, particularly its capital, Copenhagen.

Today, over 1/3 of Danish commuters ride a bicycle to work and many more, as in Japan, make the trip by a combination of bicycle and train. Denmark's goal is to have over 40% of commuters on bicycles.

EU Countries ranked as follows for bicycle use:

Denmark: 954 km
Netherlands: 879 km (look at them Gogh)
Belgium: 329 km
Germany: 298 km
Sweden: 277 km (Sweden's goal: to be fossil fuel free by 2020!)
Finland: 256 km (at least they didn't Finnish last)
Ireland: 186 km (green with envy)
Austria: 173 km
Italy: 159 km
Great Britain: 84 km
France: 81 km
Greece: 77 km
Luxembourg: 31 km
Portugal: 29 km
Spain: 27 km (cómo desconcierta)

I think it is interesting that the Scandinavian countries lead the world in bicycle transportation.

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A Japanese advertising print (Hikifuda) from 1920 showing modern forms of transportation.

States outside of the European Union:

Japan: 354 km
Switzerland: 287 km (hills are obviously no excuse!)
Norway: 164 km (they can a-fjord to do more)
The USA: 33 km (20.5 miles - come on America!)

However YOU get around, be safe out there.


Don Snabulus said...

I am a bug guy and I should be much thinner than I am. However, I can proudly say that this American outcycled the Danish average in 2006.

2007 might be a bit tougher because of a knee injury, but I am over half way to the Norwegian average and our weather has not begun to get good yet.

If this round mound of American can cycle that far, so can you.

Pandabonium said...

Snabby - A bug guy? Like in Men in Black? Ahhhhhg! Just kidding. Good for you, big guy!

Lrong said...

Just last week, I cycled to work from Monday to Thursday... 4o kilometers per day times 4 days equal 160 kilometers... beating the US flat... heeeaaa...

ladybug said...

In the PDX metro area, it's very bicyle friendly, we've got alot of bike paths and such. It's much more spare the further out into suburbia you go, and the country "roads" that weekend (i.e. Lance Armstrong wanna-be's) bicylists seem to favor are downright scary!

Several of the errands I run could be done with a bike (mail, most all food shopping & most other shopping) BUT I have to get across the freeway for all but one. There's no bike lane on the bridge, and considering I'd really love an old 3-wheel 1930's model type, I might hold off until either we move, or they re-do the bridge.

Fritz said...

Cool stats, and interesting about how forward looking the Danes were in the 70s. I've also read that bicycling got a big push during WWII in Denmark because the occupying Nazis confiscated all of the cars.

Pandabonium said...

Lrong - You inspire me. That's one reason I picked you for the previous post :) In the past week I rode about 70 km total, which is actually a bit more than average for me.

Ladybug - I hear ya. Maui was ok for short trips within my small town, but the longer stretches had no room for bikes. While I do encourage people to take up bicycling, one of the main reasons for a post like this is to get people to think about not only their own transportation, but also the way we, as societies, organize our infrastructure and how we can make it better in the face of climate change and resource depletion. Your comment points to some of the mistakes of the past (everything spread out and things like you bridge with no consideration given to pedestrians or bicycles) but also how cities are working on improving things. Thanks. There are a number of nice trikes available in the US these days.

Fritz - Hi. I didn't know that about WWII, interesting. The Danes have been following the Dutch who were the first in Europe to have a national transportation policy.

With new energy problems in Europe (worries about reliability of gas from Russia, peaking of North Sea oil production, etc) and especially climate change, there is now a big push for better public transport and more ecologically friendly personal transportation, so a lot of countries are looking to Holland and Denmark for ideas.

Martin J Frid said...

I miss my mountain bike and look forward to once again living somewhere where streets have separated bike lanes for safety and convenience, like in Sweden and Denmark...

Pandabonium said...

Martin - I can appreciate that. It's nice riding out here in Kashima....

The Moody Minstrel said...

I disagree. Hills are most definitely an excuse.

Pandabonium said...

Moody - don't tell the Swiss, but I'm with you on that.

QUASAR9 said...

Alas look at the Dutch Gogh!
The Irish green with envy, guess the Emerald Isle is not quite as flat
So the Finns didn't finnish last, but alas their towns are long distances apart.
In Spain they need a siesta, and they like to fiesta, no time for no bike ride, burn that fat playing on the sea side

Pandabonium said...

Quasar9 - thanks :D