Thursday 15 June 2017 10.20 BST
“I love to cycle. I’ve got no clue why,” says Emilie, a six-year-old Danish girl. She is with her friend Vilja, who’s the same age. “When I cycle, I can go to new places faster,” she saysin a recent Danish campaign for cycling.
Even though it’s almost half a century ago, I would have said exactly the same at that age. When I was a child, my bicycle gave me freedom to move around with speed, ease and lightness. It gave me the feeling of being independent from my parents, as I did not need to ask them to drive me to my friends’ place or to school. I could just jump on my bike, and off I went. My childhood wasn’t very different from that of most other Danish kids.
Studies show 99% of the Danish population consider themselves to be cyclists and learned to ride a bike before they were 10 years old. In other surveys, 96% of Danes believe we need to take active steps make it possible for more children to cycle to school.
Are Danish parents more irresponsible compared to other nationalities? I don’t think so. It is simply that freedom for children is a huge part of Danish culture and, when designing our streets and neighbourhoods, our urban planners have always asked themselves the question: “would I let my children cycle here?”