Cycling has been part of the Copenhagen dwellers’ life since the oil crisis in the 70s and the activity has become even more popular after the 80s. Despite the already-impressive biking infrastructure across the capital city, Copenhagen’s City Council has a more ambitious plan to become the first carbon-neutral capital city by bringing their cyclist-friendly infrastructure to the next level to convince more people to give up travelling with private cars.
More than 250 miles of bike lanes lie across the Copenhagen city area and up to 600 miles of bike paths are available in the greater Copenhagen area. The Danish city has built 15 new bridges specifically for bicycles in the past four years, and the city now has 17 bridges in total over the canals and harbours to serve the cyclists. Besides, a dozen “cycle superhighways” have been set up to enable a “higher-speed and traffic-light-free” cycling environment for the commuters. To send a clear signal to its dwellers, Copenhagen has not only made biking infrastructure more attractive but also made driving and parking more difficult and expensive.
These actions have led to changes in behaviour and attitudes regarding how the Danes deal with their everyday mobility and have even altered the perception of vehicles for the younger generations. A Copenhagen resident described his relationship with the bicycle: “It’s like getting dressed or brushing your teeth in the morning. You get on your bike every day because it’s there. So no one really ever asks themselves if it’s better to bike or drive a car.”
Copenhagen has now made biking the norm for commuting in the city and has changed how the residents perceive biking through a determined investment in improving infrastructure and policy support to favour vulnerable road users. The city’s action is undoubtedly reasonable, logical and effective to save our every-day-worsening climate-change situation, but unfortunately, it’s something rarely seen in modern cities that claim to support climate-change campaigns and strive to decrease hazardous emissions.
Most cities around the globe are of course aware of the climate change crisis and are trying to save the climate to the best of their knowledge and abilities. Electrifying the fossil fuel vehicle industry is one example. India has become the country with the second-biggest electric vehicle fleet in the world and is now trying to electrify their auto-rickshaws and motorcycles, and also, perhaps even more importantly, make them safer to ride . Copenhagen’s example somehow gives us a hint: investment in infrastructure will be a foundation for sustainable transport options!
Written by Anne Faxér, RISE Viktoria.
1. 2019-08-08. Copenhagen has taken bicycle commuting to a whole new level.
2. 2019-08-22. Inside India’s Messy Electric Revolution.