On many of our running tours we receive the question from our guests: ”is Copenhagen a safe running city?”. I guess this is something they have considered when looking to run in Copenhagen and have ultimately decided to book a running tour and a private running guide to ensure a good and safe run. Nevertheless, let me answer the question “is running safe in Copenhagen”. Here goes…
The short answer is ”yes” or maybe even ”yes of course” (said with a facial expression similar to if you asked in a Starbucks if they served coffee). But just like Starbucks also serves tea and juices, then not all areas are ideal for running, and you need to know where to go, where not to go, what to do and what not to do.
Running safe in Copenhagen can be split into a few categories: Running safe from an attack perspective, running safe from an injury perspective and running safe from a traffic perspective.
Now let me give you a few insights.
Running Safe in Copenhagen – from an ”attack” perspective:
Personally, I do not run in the parks or on some of the smaller paths while it is dark unless it is on a lit path or I run with someone else. Many of the parks are closed at night, but the ones such as Fælledparken, Søndermarken, Amagerfælled etc. are open at all times. I know that some Copenhageners may now comment ”what are you on about, you wuss Lena, I run there all the time!”.
Yes I am a wuss and chances that something will ever happen is very low, but if something happens it will not be on my shift and due to these recommendations. There – clean hands 🙂
I also do not run in certain areas even during daylight as it upsets the people that are there (Pusherstreet and other parts of Christiania is a prime example of this), and guessing from my guests reaction on the Christiania running tour, they appreciate this insider knowledge.
Running Safe in Copenhagen – from an injury perspective
At night and if running in the dark, then ensure that you run on a lit up path. If you venture to a park or an unlit path, the risk of tripping over a tree root, rock or dare I say rubbish is high. If you are running in the dark, bring a headlamp, but not one that is too strong, so that you blind the people around you.
Remember you are in the Danish capital not in the Amazonas.
Also, if you are running in Copenhagen during winter, then beware of snow and ice. The city administration is in general very good at cleanings paths and pedestrian areas, but if you are running in the old part of town or even venture to The Little Mermaid, then beware that cobblestones and rocks become very slippery in these weather conditions. Always take the stairs by The Little Mermaid (an insider tip that you may share with the hundreds of Asian pensioners who fall by the Mermaid on a daily basis when climbing the rocks).
Running Safe in Copenhagen – from a traffic perspective
I always avoid running on the very busy streets of the city because the traffic (pedestrian, cyclists, cars and lorries) makes it almost impossible to run unless you venture out on the bike path or road, something that does not come with my highest recommendation.
Many runners from abroad are used to running in traffic with cars, buses and lorries. It is the fewest that are used to running in a city where 50% of the local people ride their bike to work or school. And here is the deal – while cyclists look very civilised here in Copenhagen, then trust me, we are not. You will see pensioners on bikes jumping red lights, mothers with children sneaking in a right hand turn despite a red light and you will see bike messengers making no distinguish between pedestrian paths, bike lanes and car lanes. Asphalt is made to be ridden, regardless of whom it is intended for.
Always keep on the pedestrian path when running in the city, and if you have to step into a bike lane, make sure you ensure that no bike is coming from behind. And note – some of the bikes are going damn fast, and they will be at your heels faster than you think. Do not forget even the nicest Dane, can become a bully on a bike, if people don’t follow the unwritten bike rules.
If you are running in traffic while it is dark naturally, ensure that you wear reflective clothing and ideally a LED armband, to ensure that you are visible to the rest of the traffic.
Last but not least – don’t jaywalk (or jayrun). You can get fined by the police and it annoys many people, and will put you at unnecessary risk.
Run with a private running guide
In Copenhagen we have daylight from 4 am to 10 pm during summer, which makes it safer to run in the city. During winter on the other hand, it is dark form 7.30 am to 5 pm and here it can sometime be difficult to squeeze in a run while its daylight. If you are not comfortable running in Copenhagen at night, then there is always the option of booking one of our running tours to ensure you get your run in on a good and safe route while also seeing interesting parts of Copenhagen.
Quite a few of our guests book our running tours, because of safety reason. They have just arrived in a new city, would like to run but are not sure where to go and whether it is safe. Then they book a tour with us and off we go.
Running Safe Tips:
- Avoid smaller and remote paths during nighttime
- Run in groups – if you are in Copenhagen alone, then book a private running tour and either myself or one of my colleagues will guide you on a run here in the city.
- Be visible (high visibility cloting, LED armbands etc.)
- Bring your mobile
- Wear trailshoes or shoes with good grip in icy and snowy weather.
That’s it folks – happy running and be safe!