Some of our visitors have commented about how petrol and car prices are much higher in most European countries compared to the US, for example, and that is perhaps why Copenhageners ride their bikes so much.
We'd just to clarify that this is not entirely the case. If you convert the price of petrol to US dollars, sure, it sounds amazing. It's currently $2 a litre [or just under $8 for one of those gallon things.]
It's important to remember that our standard of living is different and these prices, while high, are not prohibitive to us. In the rural provinces in Denmark, like many places, young people buy a car as soon as they get a driving licence, so it's obviously not difficult to acquire an automobile if you want one, even with 180% tax on cars.
The point is that we don't need to drive in Copenhagen. Copenhageners ride bikes because they can. Because it's easy and fast.
The statistics back this up. The City of Copenhagen publishes a biannual Cycle Policy Report - a kind of state of the bike nation - wherein they gauge progress and problems and revise our goals.
In the 2006 report, for example, the goal of having 40% of Copenhageners riding their bike to work or education was revised to 50% by 2015.
But why do we ride? According to the research and the polls, here's why:
54% ride because it is easy and fast.
19% ride because of the benefits of excercising WHILE using the bike as transport. (Not fitness).
7% ride because it is cheap. [there goes the expensive petrol theory...:-)]
6% ride because it is handy.
1% ride because of the environmental benefits.
Bikes are used primarily for transport, not for excercise.
50% ride up to 50 km a week.
15% ride more than 100 km a week.
Of those who ride up to 30km a week:
34% ride to work.
68% ride for other errands apart from work.
17% ride only for recreation/excercise.
In all, 73% of Copenhageners DON'T ride for recreation. The bike is not a hobby article used for recreation or excercise. It is transport.
The fact that riding a bike is beneficial to your health is listed as a secondary reason of 38% of those polled. 51% mention how easy it is as their secondary reason and 45% say it is because it is fast.
Why do YOU ride where you are? Let us know.