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!

Denmark Increases Green Energy Transition

Denmark is getting looking to have 50% of it’s energy come from wind power and are looking to further their need to import any energy at all. Not only is Denmark looking to lower the need for foreign energy they are trying to decrease the amount of energy that the country uses.

“Denmark will once again be the global leader in the transition to green energy,” said Lidegaard. “This will prepare us for a future with increasing prices for oil and coal. Moreover, it will create some of the jobs that we need so desperately, now and in the coming years.”

The agreement will help Denmark achieve its goal of supplying 100% of its energy from renewables by 2050, including electricity, heating, industry and transport.

Read more here.

Denmark ‘Fat Tax’ Starts Saturday

Denmark is moving ahead with a tax on products that make people fat. Denmark already has the lost percentage of obese people in Europe and even they are concerned with the increasing girth of their people. This new ‘fat tax’ will hopefully keep the country’s slim people slim and inspire other countries to institute a similar tax.

Starting from this Saturday, Danes will pay an extra 30p on each pack of butter, 8p on a pack of crisps, and an extra 13p on a pound of mince, as a result of the tax.
The tax is expected to raise about 2.2bn Danish Krone (£140m), and cut consumption of saturated fat by close to 10pc, and butter consumption by 15pc.
“It’s the first ever fat-tax,” said Mike Rayner, Director of Oxford University’s Health Promotion Research Group, who has long campaigned for taxes on unhealthy foods.
“It’s very interesting. We haven’t had any practical examples before. Now we will be able to see the effects for real.” The tax will be levied at 2.5 per Kg of saturated fat and will be levied at the point of sale from wholesalers to retailers.

Read the rest of the article.

Copenhagen Conference Begins

Arguably, the most important UN conference started today in Denmark: The Copenhagen Conference to address climate change. This conference sets out to ensure that there will be a place for humans to live healthy and peaceful lives in a sustainable fashion.

Environmental concerns have led to food scarcity issues to potential causes of regional conflict and now countries are doing something about it. Personally, I hope that Canada stops sabotaging international conferences on climate change (like in Bali) and that Canada stops being a second voice of support for the USA’s disastrous climate policies.

Now is the time for real change.

From the AFP:

The meeting will climax on December 18 with more than 100 heads of state or government in attendance.
Opening ceremonies began with a short film featuring children of the future facing an apocalypse of tempests and desert landscapes if world leaders failed to act today.
“There will be hundreds of millions of refugees,” Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN’s panel of climate scientists, said in the film.
“Please help save the world,” said a little girl, plaintively.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen told opening ceremonies that the world is looking to the conference to safeguard humanity.
“The world is depositing hope with you for a short while in the history of humanity,” Rasmussen said. Poll: Public want action
“For the next two weeks, Copenhagen will be Hopenhagen. By the end, we must be able to deliver back to the world what was granted us here today: hope for a better future.”

Keep reading about Copenhagen.

Also, The Guaridain is liveblogging the conference..

Denmark Blogs About Bikes

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On the official blog of Denmark (yes you read that right, the country has an official blog!) they have a nice post on the facts of the bike culture in Denmark.

7. The busiest bike stretch in the nation is Nørrebrogade in Copenhagen. 35,000 cyclists use the street each day.
8. The average speed of cyclists in Copenhagen is 15,3 km/h.
9. Danes cycle just over 1000 km a year per capita. The Dutch occupy second place, just under 1000 km.
10. There are 1.7 million people in Copenhagen and 1.7 million bicycles.
11. Only 40% of Copenhageners own a car.
12. 36% of Copenhageners ride a bicycle, 35% take public transport and the rest drive or walk.

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