Chapter 15. Transport & travel
This is an excerpt from the Worktrotter's Guide to Denmark.
Having a car in Denmark is an expensive luxury. Many people that move to the country will find themselves asking the same questions: Why is car ownership so expensive? What costs should I expect? What other modes of transport are there?
In this chapter, you will find answers to some of the most important questions regarding cars like, for example, what to do if you want to bring your car with you from abroad. You will also learn about alternatives to cars.
Let’s start with some essential information on the subject of cars (bil).
Unless otherwise stated, the speed limits on Danish roads are as follows:
– in towns and cities: 50 km/h (31 miles/hour)
– on country roads: 80 km/h (43 miles/hour)
– on motorways: 130 km/h (80 miles/hour)
The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for driving is 5 mg per 100 ml (0.05 percent).
Speed traps are often located in transit vans or minibuses with white number plates, parked on the side of the road. But the police also often measure vehicle speeds from bridges, the roadside or inside their cars using “radar guns”. Stationary speed traps have been in operation since the beginning of 2009.
Although cyclists do not have priority in all cases, they often think they do.
So, always watch out for them – it will save you a lot of hassle. If there is a car accident involving a pedestrian or cyclist, it is almost always the driver of the car that is liable whether or not they have actually caused the accident.
In towns and cities in particular, many people commute to work by bike, leading to heavy cycle traffic during rush hour. This makes turning right with a car quite difficult (due to the large number of cyclists), and is almost as difficult as turning left (due to the traffic light sequence).
Rules for cyclists
Excerpt published in the Copenhagen Post
Always observe the traffic regulations – the penalties are severe. Even if you do not get stopped by the police, you will often be put in your place by other people because Danes aren’t very tolerant when it comes to traffic – particularly on the cycle paths.
To help prevent you from getting into awkward or unpleasant situations, here are the most important rules (I have not seen them written down anywhere else in English):
1. Cyclists indicate their intention by means of hand signals:
– Hand signal to the left: left turn
– Hand signal to the right: right turn
– Hand signal upwards: stopping
2. When turning left at an intersection, a cyclist are not allowed to use the left turning lane for cars, but must cycle across the intersection, stop (indicating this in advance by means of a raised hand), and then ride in the desired direction when the lights turn green again.
3. Cycling against the flow of traffic is forbidden.
4. If a bus stops at a bus stop, cyclists have to stop and wait until the bus doors have closed again. Bus passengers that cross the cycle path when boarding and departing have priority, unless there is a bus island.
5. Pavements/sidewalks are no-go areas for cyclists. If there is no bike path, you must ride on the road. Similarly, bicycle paths are out of bounds for pedestrians, and if you are walking alongside your bike, you must do so on the pavement.
6. Obey the red light at intersections even when you‘re on a bike. If there are no bicycle traffic lights at the intersection, cyclists must obey the car traffic lights and not the pedestrian ones.
7. When riding your bike, you must have both feet on the pedals and at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.
8. Bicycle helmets are not compulsory, neither for children nor adults, but they are strongly recommended!
The following components of your bicycle must be in good working order:
– Front and rear light. However, you will notice that only very few bicycle lights are strong enough to light up the road, and are really only “alibi” lights, allowing the cyclist to be seen. Lights are often set to flashing mode to be better seen, particularly in the dark winter months.
– Reflectors must be fitted to the wheels, or the tires must have built-in reflector strips.
– The bicycle must be fitted with a white reflector at the front and a red one at the rear.
– The bicycle must have functioning brakes, both on the front and rear wheel...
– …and a bell.
Note: The police carry out regular checks on cyclists – with heavy penalties for infringements of the rules (see Section 15.3).
Yet, despite the rules and their collective enforcement, they are often disobeyed.
To avoid getting into an accident, you should not be tempted to do the same. Bikes often travel at very high speeds on the cycle paths. So it is always important to make your intentions clear to other cyclists when you are riding your bike!
Contents of Chapter 15. Transport and travel
15.1.1 Bring or buy?
Helping you decide
A. Buying a car in Denmark
B. Bringing your car with you
15.1.2 Registration options
A. White number plates
B. Yellow number plates
15.1.3 Selling a car
15.1.4 Vehicle insurance
15.1.5 Company cars
15.1.6 Other options
15.1.7 Driving licence
15.3 Overview of fines
15.4 Bus and rail
15.5 Air travel
15.6 Bridges and ferries
Find more details and all you need to know about traffic and the Danish transportation in the full version of the
Worktrotter‘s Guide to Denmark.
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