In Denmark, Bikes Have a Seat on Some Trains
A car on Copenhagen's railway system specifically for bikes and other users. Photo by

A car on Copenhagen's railway system, specifically for bicyclists and other passengers with special needs. Photo by

Taking your bike on public transit can be a huge hassle, or often, not an option at all. Specially designed accommodations for bicyclists are usually severely limited, and on certain bus, train and metro systems, bikes are only allowed on board during non-peak hours.

Denmark’s transit system continues to build its reputation for being bike friendly. Early last year, the Danish State Railways, offered free bike carrying on their trains that serve greater Copenhagen, in an effort to further endorse biking as a legitimate mode of transit. As the blog wrote, “DSB hopes to make everyday journeys easier for Copenhageners and encourage more people to use their bicycle.”

The Danish transit service provider is going a step further by providing bicycle pumps in existing bike compartments. The pumps will be installed starting in the New Year and DSB will double the capacity of “flex compartments” for more bicycle capacity.

The announcement of the new measure for free bike travel on trains came along with a public demonstration that included creative marketing flyers and brochures. We think public artoutreach and good communication is important for sustainable transport, and Copenhagen does it well.

Train bike rack in Copenhagen. Photo by Sam Teigen.

Train bike rack in Copenhagen. Photo by Sam Teigen.

A rail service in Copenhagen, Danish State Railways, announced that bikes will now be free on train. They accompanied the announcment with a demonstration on one of the busiest streets in the county. Photo credit to

Danish State Railway organizes a cycling demonstration on one of the busiest streets in the city, following their announcement of free bike carrying on trains. Photo via

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  • Erica Schlaikjer

    Dear Richard,

    Interesting point about the paradox!

    If you love bold graphics, check out this post by Jonna McKone about the importance of icons and symbols in the transit world:

    Erica Schlaikjer
    Managing Editor

  • Richard Masoner

    I *love* the bold graphic on the bike car.

    In the U.S., transit agencies often make allowance for bikes mostly because it’s an easy way for transit to extend their reach, and they do that because of infrequent service with poor connections. I assume this *isn’t* the case in CPH — it’s an interesting paradox.

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  • Erica Schlaikjer

    Dear Todd,

    Thanks for providing those extra details! I especially like your point about the big bicycle graphics on the side of the trains – it’s not just about good design and communications, it’s also a symbolic statement about a commitment to accommodate all passengers.

    Erica Schlaikjer
    Managing Editor

  • Todd Edelman

    Happy New Year! This provision on the DSB S-tog (S bahn) is great but what really makes it exceptional besides the no “commuting hours” exemption is that it costs nothing extra (though I suspect some lesser and greater Copenhageners kvetch about the basic ticket price…). The big bike pictograms are not just very functional and good marketing but also show commitment.

    By the way, I know that “special needs” is standard jargon but perhaps it’s kind of old skool… to borrow an adjective from another sub-genre of sustainable transport, I would say that including provision for people who use wheelchairs or parents with prams makes this a… “Complete Train” — and probably inclusion of both is required by Danish and/or EU law.

    Finally, my understanding is that all the compartments which take bikes are as in the photo, i.e. they are all “flexible compartments” which have longitudinal seating on both sides, with those wheel holders on one side.