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CYCLING

Think Danes only ride bikes? Think again. Record car sales for sixth year in a row.

The outside world might think of Denmark as a bicycling utopia, but in reality Danes are as dependent upon their cars as other developed nations.

Think Danes only ride bikes? Think again. Record car sales for sixth year in a row.
Car sales were up for the seventh year in a row and set an all-time record for the sixth consecutive year. Photo: Keld Navntoft/Scanpix
In 2016, auto sales in Denmark reached a record high with 222,924 personal vehicles sold according to figures released on Monday by the Danish Car Importers Association (De Danske Bilimportører – DBI).
 
The sale were 7.3 percent higher than in 2015 and 2016 was the seventh year in a row that Danes increased their vehicle purchases and the sixth consecutive year in which all-times sales records were set. 
 
Gunni Mikkelsen, the CEO of DBI, said the increase can be attributed to several factors. 
 
“We continue to see low interest rates, a general increase in real wages, a slight increase in employment and thus a need for labour mobility and last but not least there has been a generally high legvel of consumer confidence,” he said. 
 
“These are the things that have helped ensure record-high car sales again this year,” Mikkelsen added. 
 
DBI’s figures also showed that Danes are purchasing larger vehicles than in previous years. In 2016, sales of microcars and compact models accounted for less than half of the total personal vehicle sales. 
 
The record car sales are not, however, a sign that Danes have suddenly fallen out of love with the bicycle. Particularly in the capital, cycling is as popular as ever, with 2016 also going down as the year in which bicycles outnumbered cars in Copenhagen for the first time ever. 

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ADVERTISING

‘The Vikings also wore helmets’: Danes draw on marauding past for cycle safety ad

The Danish Road Safety Council has put the Scandinavian country's Viking past to a hilarious new use: convincing macho Danish men to wear cycle helmets.

'The Vikings also wore helmets': Danes draw on marauding past for cycle safety ad
Svend the Viking does not want to ruin his braids. Photo: &Co

The council’s new advert, “Helmet has always been a good idea”, brings together two somewhat incongruous aspects of Danish life — the country’s love of cycling and its Viking past, using humour to show up some of the silly reasons people give themselves not to wear cycle helmets. 

The advert starts with the imposing Viking chief Svend rousing his men for their next invasion of England. To rhythmic chanting and the blowing of horns, he mounts his steed, brandishing his thick and heavy sword. 

Then, suddenly, his young son comes running bearing his helmet. Svend ignores him, and utters a cry: “To the ships!”. 

After a pause, one of his men nervously asks: “shouldn’t you have a helmet on, Svend?”. 

“No, it’s annoying and it makes my scalp itch,” Svend responds sheepishly. 

“I’m a careful rider,” he adds, slightly desperately.

“What do I do when I get there? Run around in a silly helmet?” he adds. 

Then he roars, “It ruins my braids!” 

It’s only when his wife comes out that he finally dons his gleaming headpiece and with the cheers of his fellow marauders all around him makes his way to the longships. 

Then the slogan — “A helmet has been a good idea for all time” — appears on the screen in rune-like writing. 

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