Copenhagen Shames Aspiring Bike Cities, Again, With Opening of Superhighway

From Portland to Minneapolis, cities across the America have been trying to catch up to Copenhagen's world-renowned bicycling infrastructure. With the recent opening of a bike superhighway, the Danish capital is leaving other cities in the dust.

The opening in April of the 11-mile-long cycle superhighway connecting Copenhagen to its western suburb of Albertslund, is the first of 26 routes intended to encourage long-distance bicycle commuting in the region around the Danish capital, reports Sally McGrane. In a city where half of the residents already bike to work or to school every day, the construction of the network of superhighways targets an area ripe for growth in bicycle use - suburban commuters, "most of whom use cars or public transportation to reach the city."

"While there is a good existing network of bicycle pathways around Copenhagen," notes McGrane, "standards across municipalities can be inconsistent, with some stretches having inadequate pavement, lighting or winter maintenance, as well as unsafe intersections and gaps." Hence, "For the superhighway project, Copenhagen and 21 local governments teamed up to ensure that there were contiguous, standardized bike routes into the capital across distances of up to 14 miles."

Although environmental and health benefits are stressed as key advantages of traveling by bike, "[Danish] commuters choose bicycles because they are the fastest and most convenient transportation option," writes McGrane. "'It's not because the Danes are more environmentally friendly,' said Gil Penalosa, executive director of 8-80 Cities, a Canadian organization that works to make cities healthier. 'It's not because they eat something different at breakfast.'"

 

Full Story: Commuters Pedal to Work on Their Very Own Superhighway

Comments

Comments

there are american commuter trails too...

looks very similar to the minuteman bikeway near Boston - also 11 miles - which gets you to within 3 miles of downtown (and hopefully all the way downtown if they ever finish it) - has been a main commuter "bike superhighway" for the past 15 years or so - and I think there's a least a few places you can pump your tires (even one bike shop at the midpoint).

It's the infrastructure, dummy!

This story underscores the reality that automobiles are not inherently convenient; they are *convenienced.*

This distinction becomes readily evident when you read about the New York-Paris Race of 1908, in which teams of motorists from several nations competed to drive around the world. There are several books about it.

http://www.thegreatautorace.com/race.htm

In 1908, there were no road maps or, apart from select cities, paved roads. There were no gas stations; many people had no idea what gasoline even was. No motels, no professional mechanics, no auto parts stores, and few bridges sturdy enough to take the weight of cars.

These vehicles were not driven so much as they were pushed and dragged.

The car became convenient only when we drastically rebuilt the entire world to convenience it.

As Copenhagen shows, the bicycle is equally convenient, and could have been convenient all along, had we simply built the appropriate infrastructure for it.

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