Bicycling paradise of the day

By Felix Salmon
October 15, 2009
Copenhagen:

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Copenhagen:

The morning and afternoon commute in Copenhagen is a spectacle involving tens of thousands of cyclists roaring down dedicated lanes in tight packs, past cars moving at half the speed, if at all…

Traffic lights that were once co-ordinated for car speeds were adjusted to cater to the pace of the average cyclist, allowing them to travel long distances without ever getting a red light. To increase safety, stop lines for cars are five metres behind those for bikes. Cyclists get a green light up to 12 seconds ahead of cars to help increase their visibility.

In the winter months, bike ridership drops off 20 per cent. Still, an armada of plows is ready to clear bike lanes when snow flies. They get priority over routes for cars.

How do other cities get there from here? Slowly. You don’t do everything at once, but instead just add things incrementally, until you reach the point at which cyclists outnumber car drivers. Lots of attitudes need to be changed, including those of today’s cyclists, who, in car-centered cities, tend to be highly aggressive. And attitudes change slowly. But it can — and should — be done.

(Via Florida)

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