5 Tips for Cycling in Copenhagen

5 Tips for Cycling in Copenhagen

Mar 27, 2024
 min read

With almost 400 km of cycling tracks throughout Copenhagen, there is no better way of getting around the city than on a bicycle. Over the last ten years, the municipality has invested 84 Million DKK in cycling infrastructure, gaining Copenhagen a staple rank among the most bike friendly cities in the world. In this article I want to share some tips and tricks for cycling in Copenhagen.

While the city provides everything that you need to cycle safely and comfortably, many guests can also be overwhelmed by the amount of traffic on the lanes – especially during rush hours. When people ask me on my tours whether it is safe to cycle in Copenhagen, they often wonder whether it is safe with regards to cars. Yes, it is. Bicycles are ruling the traffic and most car drivers are very attentive to cyclists. But with 48% of all Copenhageners using the bike as a means of transportation, it is crucial to adhere to a specific code of riding your bike – for your own and other people’s safety.

1) Stay on the Bike Lanes

On every big street you will find three lanes: one for cars, one for bikes, and one for pedestrians. There really is no reason not to use the lane that was made for you. Most bike lanes even feature a small buffer zone to the cars, so you don’t have to worry about a car driving by super close. Importantly, stay away from the pavement. These are made for walking only, and Copenhageners will get upset about you if you don’t respect that. In case there are no specific cycle lanes, you are supposed to drive on the street. Cars can usually not drive faster than 30 km/h here.

2) Keep to the Right

Many Copenhageners cycle fast, and it can get busy and a bit chaotic during rush hours. To make sure that everyone gets around at their own tempo, make sure to always cycle on the right side – unless you want to overtake slower cyclists in front of you.

Keeping to the right also means to respect the direction of traffic. Never cycle on the left side, even if you are on a bike lane. You can get fined for this by the police.

3) Watch your Back

Whenever you take a turn or want to overtake someone, look behind you and make sure that your passage is clear. Again, some cyclists speed through the city with way over 30 km/h – mindlessly taking a turn or switching to the left can result in ugly accidents. 

4) Use Hand Signals

Using hand signals will help you and other members of traffic read each other’s intentions better and keep everyone safe. There are only three hand signs that are really in use in Copenhagen.

  • ‘Hand to the right’ means that you are turning right
  • ‘Hand to the left’ means that you are turning left
  • ‘One hand in the air’ means that you are slowing down and stopping

5) Turning Left at an Intersection

In many cities you can see cyclists lining up with cars to take a left turn, finding themselves in the middle of the intersection. This is not the way it is done in Copenhagen. If you are turning left, cross over the road straight, so that you are waiting with the traffic on the right-hand side. Then wait for the lights to turn green and resume your journey. 


Those are my 5 most important tips for cycling in Copenhagen. There is one more actually, but it is so obvious I didn’t include it in the list: Respect the general traffic rules. So don’t cross a red light, have lights installed when you cycle at night, respect official traffic signs, and don’t look at your phone while driving. 

There is, of course, much more to be said about cycling in Copenhagen, and a lot more in-depth tricks to know. We’ll cover those in another article. You can also always ask your guide or one of our hosts if you have more questions or feel insecure about something. We’d love to help you.