In Denmark both national and local authorities integrate cycling into transport policies and urban planning. As a result biking from A to B, to work and leisure, with friends or on your own, has become an integral part of the daily traffic. In the capital of Copenhagen alone, one in three commuters goes by bike.
During the Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union delegates are encouraged to use bikes for transportation. At hotels and conference venues like Radisson Blu Hotel in Copenhagen and Forum Horsens in Jutland bikes are pumped and ready to zoom off in to traffic.
Pink iron horses
The sustainable management of the Danish Presidency has both financial and environmental benefits and highlights Denmark’s political commitment to green growth and to take a leading position in sustainable solutions.
Inspired by the Giro d’Italia, which started in Horsens last week, the Municipality of Horsens has produced 100 pink recycled bicycles available for ministers, delegates and journalists to use as a sustainable mode of transport. The bikes have been used enthusiastically during the informal ministerial meetings.
“Denmark is a biking nation with great traditions of biking everywhere. Bikes are a great way to brand Horsens and Denmark as a sustainable city and country. In our city, biking is ideal, because many paths go through idyllic locations. Furthermore cycling is healthy both for those who tread the pedals and for the environment. This is something we would like to pass on to others,” says Charlotte Walkusch, project coordinator at the Municipality of Horsens.
The bikes, which are manufactured by citizens receiving various social benefits through the Center for Career and Clarification, have helped the municipality focus on sustainability.
“The Presidency has given us an opportunity to take a closer look at the sustainable solutions in our municipality. It has made us look into what we already do to see where there is room for improvement,” says Charlotte Walkusch, who is proud to say that Horsens is now certified as a Fairtrade-city.
Two wheels for transportation
Delegates who spend the night in one of the hotels used by the Danish Presidency are also offered the chance to bike to work. The Radisson Blu Hotel has a sustainable vision similar to the Presidency’s and is one of the environmentally certified hotels used during the Presidency. Here guests are offered bikes as a sustainable alternative to for example taxis.
“And there’s only just five kilometers to the Bella Center – on a nice cycle path,” says one of the E-health-delegates in the busy hotel lobby on a cloudy May morning during the E-health week in Copenhagen.
The Danish Government aims to increase the use of bicycles among commuters and has consequently allocated funds amounting to € 133 million in 2009-2014 to this end. In 2012 alone € 16.7 million are earmarked for bicycling projects. Currently 86 national and local projects with themes like urban bicycle transport and designated parking for bicycles have been initiated.