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Urban mobility

Cycle City Odense

23. August 2011

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City of Odense
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The First City to Focus on Cycling
The first bicycle path in Denmark was established in 1895 in Odense. The city has since been focusing on cycling and green development. Odense has 545 kilometers of cycle paths, which is about 3 meters per inhabitant and the most in any Danish city. The bicycle paths are used frequently, because the inhabitants of the city are some of the most enthusiastic cyclists in the world – more than every fourth trip is done by bike.

Odense is behind a number of new initiatives in the field of cycling such as special cycle pumps, the cycle barometer, which counts cyclists, and the establishment of green waves of traffic lights for cyclists. In 2011, the brand ‘Cycle City’ was chosen as a merit winner by judges in the “HOW International Design Awards.”

More kids out of the car seat and up on the saddle
According to a Danish study, children who have a more active mode of transport to school learn better, and therefore the municipality of Odense wants kids of all ages to feel comfortable and safe to ride a bike in the city. The municipality has done a lot of work by making the road to school safer and less trafficked. In addition, the city has increased children’s cycling through the concept CykelScore developed by the Danish company Kofoed & Co., and started in 2014. Since then, 10 schools from three school districts have joined the program, and over 2,000 children are participating in the project. This has resulted in 28% more bike trips, and 7% of the children who were normally driven to school by their parents or took the bus now bike to school. All the participants can win prizes like bike accessories, gift certificates or unique cycling shirts and a new bike. The project was awarded with a runner up prize at this year’s CIVITAS Forum Conference in the category ‘’Technical Innovation’’.

By integrating the bike as a natural element in all aspects of the school’s daily routines, you create a bicycle culture where the bike is “just” the means of achieving other goals. The bike thus creates the basis for going on interesting outings, excursions, physical activities, and fun and better learning.

Ride the bike to work
It is not only the children who derive benefits from cycling. Odense has established a career-network with the purpose of reducing the car trips to work, and instead increase trips with bike, bus or train. To help the project in the right direction, Odense is focusing on making private companies more cycle-friendly with better cycling facilities, cycling campaigns and electric bicycles and advice about how to change transport behavior.

Odense - this year’s cycling municipality
Today cycling is synonymous with Odense, and in 2015 the city won the annual, national price “This year’s cycling municipality’’.

A Cycle City is not made by equipment and inventory alone. The cyclists are the primary ingredient, and the challenge now is to motivate, and change habits of transportation, so that even more citizens in the future will choose the bike for a better health and a better environment.