Cycling in Copenhagen

Cycling in Copenhagen


Copenhagen is a city known
the world over as a cycling city. And there is indeed a lot
of cycling to be seen. To me the city is most of all
a childhood memory. I have visited Copenhagen a lot
especially in the 1970s. I remember strolling down Strøget, the
first pedestrianised street of the city. And enjoying the Tivoli amusement park. There were also big roads
and a lot of traffic. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of
motor traffic in Copenhagen, besides the many people cycling. It is good to see people of all ages and
backgrounds cycling. There’s also a lot of
infrastructure for cycling. Bridges like this one… and many cycle tracks. I prefer these protected
one-way cycle tracks. They are nicer than being near traffic
in an on street cycle lane… and also nicer than these
stepped cycle tracks… that bring you far too close to
moving motor traffic. There are of course dedicated
traffic lights… and wayfinding signs
especially for cycling. Sometimes you see two-way
cycle tracks. But they can be too narrow, unless they are on a cycle bridge…. where walking is not permitted. The one thing Copenhagen clearly lacks
is protected intersections. You cycle with motor traffic and that can feel quite intimidating
on the many huge intersections. There is often a blue strip of paint that tells everyone where
cycling takes place. But if you want to take a left turn
you have to wait in a corner – unprotected – until the lights change. Some people then find protection
by behaving like a pedestrian. They choose the crosswalks
to make their left turn. Copenhagen has some nice gadgets. Such as the footrest and armrest
near a traffic light at some locations. Or the bicycle counters to let people see
they are one of many. Unfortunately, these counters do
not always count very well. There are almost no dropped curbs
in Copenhagen. Instead, you find these annoying
asphalt “blobs” everywhere. Not only are they inconvenient
when they are in your path, you really need to swerve around them, but they are also not very nice
to cycle over. The angle is much too sharp. Such details go wrong more often. If you need this many warnings on a new bridge, the design was very poor. if you want to make a bridge more attractive
with a swerve to the side, you shouldn’t force people cycling
to make such a sharp angle. Parking is another weak point
of the Danes. Parked bicycles take a lot of space, because you rarely see
double stacked racks. There is also very little
indoor bicycle parking. This one turns out to be just a corner
in a car parking garage. This lack of parking leads to
bicycles being parked “everywhere”. When so many people cycle in your city
you are obviously doing something right. But looking at the many cars
there is still clearly room for a lot of growth in cycling. With the many details
going wrong, I don’t think you can say
that cycling in Copenhagen is superior to cycling in some
other places in the world.