Copenhagen Gets Bike Superhighway

Copenhagen is known as the most bicycle friendly city on the planet and they keep getting better. Recently, the capital of Denmark has created a bicycle superhighway that is separated from car-dominated roads. The network of highways is designed to get people in the suburbs to get out of their pollution producers and commute more sustainably.

Other cities like London have committed resources to encourage suburbanites to commute via bicycle. Hopefully this inexpensive pro-cycling attitude will one day get to the traffic-clogged car-centric cities of North America.

The cycle superhighway, which opened in April, is the first of 26 routes scheduled to be built to encourage more people to commute to and from Copenhagen by bicycle. More bike path than the Interstate its name suggests, it is the brainchild of city planners who were looking for ways to increase bicycle use in a place where half of the residents already bike to work or to school every day.

“We are very good, but we want to be better,” said Brian Hansen, the head of Copenhagen’s traffic planning section.

He and his team saw potential in suburban commuters, most of whom use cars or public transportation to reach the city. “A typical cyclist uses the bicycle within five kilometers,” or about three miles, said Mr. Hansen, whose office keeps a coat rack of ponchos that bicycling employees can borrow in case of rain. “We thought: How do we get people to take longer bicycle rides?”

They decided to make cycle paths look more like automobile freeways. While there is a good existing network of bicycle pathways around Copenhagen, standards across municipalities can be inconsistent, with some stretches having inadequate pavement, lighting or winter maintenance, as well as unsafe intersections and gaps.

“It doesn’t work if you have a good route, then a section in the middle is covered in snow,” said Lise Borgstrom Henriksen, spokeswoman for the cycle superhighway secretariat. “People won’t ride to work then.”

Read more at NY Times, be careful though, they have a paywall.

Thanks to Janet and Matt!

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