21 September 2012

Copenhagen building "highways" for bicycles

Every day, one-third of the people of Copenhagen ride their bikes to work or school. Collectively, they cycle more than 750,000 miles daily, enough to make it to the moon and back. And city officials want even more people to commute, and over longer distances.
So a network of 26 new bike routes, dubbed "the cycling superhighway," is being built to link the surrounding suburbs to Copenhagen...

One of the first things you learn about these bike lanes is that you have to move in fast. This is not leisurely biking — this is serious stuff in Copenhagen... Each mile of bike highway will cost about $1 million. The project is to be financed by the city of Copenhagen and 21 local governments. And in a country where both right- and left-leaning politicians regularly ride bikes to work, it has bilateral support...

Several innovations are being tested, like "green wave" technology, which times traffic lights to suit bikers. If you maintain a certain pace, you can ride all the way through into the city without stopping. There are also footrests with bars to lean on at traffic lights, and a bike pump every mile in case you have a flat...

Once the highway network is completed, an estimated 15,000 additional people will switch from driving to biking. And that, say officials, will have a direct impact on the environment, public health and finances.
From NPR.  Image by Tatsuro Kiuchi.


  1. "Every day, one-third of the people of Copenhagen ride their bikes to work or school. "

    Seriously? Even in the dead of winter? Danes must be a tough bunch.

    1. I've been to Copenhagen in January and everyone is still out on their bikes. We tended to just take shelter in the nearest bar if it was snowing, best solution. It really is an excellent city.

    2. I rode my bike year-round when I lived in Montreal, which is far colder on average than Copenhagen. It's easy enough to keep cycling even in the winter - you just bundle up, and let a little bit of air out of your tires to improve traction. Mind you, Montreal has excellent snow clearing services: Winter cycling would undoubtedly be more of a challenge in any city that doesn't properly clear snow away.

    3. Danes were vikings once after all.

      I cycle year round in Chicago, and if wikipedia is to believed our average winter temps are a little bit colder. I take the bus if there's a storm or things get below zero.

      Some of our city officials were visiting Copenhagen recently for ideas for improving biking infrastructure. I'm happy to see that. Scandinavians have good policies that work, we should try to learn a little something.


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