In the early 1900s, the Danish capital was regarded as a top cycling city. Then car culture slowly seeped in. There was massive protesting of this development in the 1970s and the government, over time, became committed to making cycling better.
And better they have made it. There are certain places where you can cross the city on a bike in seven minutes, partially because the lights are timed for bicycling speeds rather than car speeds.
Here are 10 other lessons learned from Copenhagen on how to do transportation infrastructure right:
- All the systems – from buses and bicycles – are integrated for effortless travel.
- Bicycles make up 30 percent of all work trips, and 50 percent of all trips.
- There are few drop handlebars and not much lycra. Almost all the bikes have cargo racks and baskets, and people don’t lock them to anything. Lots of the bicycles had little ring locks, and they are covered by their homeowners insurance if they get stolen.
- Bike lanes are slightly raised from the street, and they are very wide, giving a nice comfort level to the bicyclists and a buffer from the traffic. And there are bike lanes on both sides of the street, almost everywhere.
- When it snows, the bike lanes get plowed as fast, if not faster, than the streets.
- There are bike sections in supermarkets – yes, that’s right, supermarkets – and they are bigger than the car sections.
- Everything that is bike-friendly is also wheelchair and baby-stroller-friendly, such as the free air-pump stands. This works to broaden the base of political support for the causes of bicyclists (and parents and the disabled). Buses are packed with parents and their children in strollers, and nobody rolls their eyes or acts inconvenienced as they get on and off the buses.
- Bus and train systems all have free wi-fi.
- Buses run on holidays and Sundays and every 10 minutes. No exceptions.
- Each train has an entire car for bikes. And each has a quiet car. Even in the non-quiet cars, the trains and buses are really quiet and people don’t have loud music blaring or loud conversations.