Copenhagen is a cyclist’s dream city?

Well some cyclists would say so. The UK Guardian reports:

Copenhagen remains the benchmark as cities around the world try to figure out how to take the bicycle seriously as a mode of transport again, and enable this 19th-century invention to solve 21st-century urban challenges.

With its narrow medieval city centre streets and broad 20th-century boulevards, Copenhagen continues to inspire planners and politicians from around the world who can squint a bit and see their home city superimposed on retinal images of the Danish capital.

While the tools for establishing a bicycle-friendly city were designed more than a century ago, in Copenhagen people are figuring out new ways to use them to build beautiful things. There is nowhere producing more new ideas to increase bicycle traffic than the Danish capital.

My readers know I’m skeptical but there are some cool innovations here.

The ‘green wave’ for cyclists was one of the greatest ideas to come out of the brainstorm started by former actor Klaus Bondam when he was elected on to the city council. On most major arteries leading into the city centre, the traffic lights are coordinated to allow continuous flow of traffic, allowing cyclists to flow into the city in the morning rush hour without putting a foot down. The lights reverse in the afternoon to send people home on a simple, tech-based tailwind.

On certain stretches, LED lights embedded in the asphalt help cyclists keep their speed in order to catch the green light at the upcoming intersection and there are simple speed radar signs reminding cyclists to maintain 20km/h in order to surf the wave. Version 2.0 is currently being tested, with sensors able to register a group of citizens riding together and then keeping the light at the intersection they’re approaching green for a little longer.

But also some not so good ideas. Footrests? And I’m not a fan of nudging.

If you want to see improved behaviour among cyclists, just build best-practice infrastructure for them – separate bikes from pedestrians and cars and give them their own space in the urban landscape. Copenhagen has the world’s best-behaved cyclists: only 7% bend or break a traffic law and only 1% do something like run a red light or ride on the pavement. Good design improves behaviour.

Danish cyclists queue patiently at traffic lights, Copenhagen, Denmark - 01 May 2013 - Photo by Francis Dean/REX (2313952a)

Danish cyclists queue patiently at traffic lights, Copenhagen, Denmark – 01 May 2013 – Photo by Francis Dean/REX (2313952a)

Queue patiently? Jeesh.

Read the entire article and watch some videos here.

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