Positive Reinforcement

On most of the main bridges in Copenhagen they have counters tracking the number of cyclists who have passed by on that day and since the beginning of the year. Apparently the record–36,000 bikers in one day–was set on a sunny weekday.


This man will be the 5,329th person to bike across this bridge today.



Here are a few other interesting numbers related to cycling in Copenhagen:

  • 90% of Copenhageners own a bicycle.
  • In Denmark, the average household owns 0.7 cars and 2 bicycles.
  • 58% of Copenhageners use a bicycle on a daily basis. 
  • 36% of Copenhageners bike to work (5% walk, 33% take public transit, and 27% drive).
  • 1/3 of the road budget in Copenhagen goes towards bicycle planning and infrastructure.   

Bikers also get a 6 second head start over cars here.


The light for cars stays red for 6 seconds while the cyclists begin across the intersection.

Aside from just having traffic signals specifically for bikes, another interesting difference is that the traffic lights for cyclists turn yellow before they turn green as well as turning yellow before a red. The yellow before green is actually really helpful because, unlike a car, it takes a few seconds to get going again on your bike. These few seconds allow you to get that initial push-off you need so you are moving by the time the light turns green. This head start also makes bikers more visible to cars since it allows the cyclists to get a few feet in front of the cars before the cars enter the intersection. Last week, while biking with John Mauro, the Policy Director from Cascade Bicycle Club, we also decided that perhaps the yellow before green serves the purpose of “psyching people up.”

Get psyched up, people!


3 thoughts on “Positive Reinforcement

  1. I’ve often heard people say that the weather in Seattle deters bike ridership. Looking at my own behavior, I think it’s probably true. Yet Denmark is a pretty rainy, cold and dark place in the winter. I wonder if the Danish ridership numbers remain relatively consistent year around?

    • Hi Gabe!
      I’m not exactly sure how the winter weather impacts ridership. I’m talking to someone at the Danish Cycling Federation tomorrow and will ask. Expect a full report shortly…


    • I had the same question. Being a data freak, it would be fun to see seasonal charts and graphs on Copehgagen bike ridership.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s