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Journey Around Copenhagen’s Latest Bicycle Innovations!

Copenhagen just keeps finding new ways to make it easier and more convenient to bike. Recently I had the chance to take a tour with Mikael Colville-Andersen of Copenhagenize and see some of the innovations that have changed the city's streets since I was there four years ago.

First off, if you've seen my 2010 Streetfilm about Copenhagen's bike infrastructure and culture, the busiest bicycle street in the world has changed: The Knippelsbro Bridge now boasts 40,700 riders per day! And speaking of bridges, Copenhagen is building six new crossings exclusively for biking and walking to help its citizens get around.

Last month another cool bridge debuted -- the Cykelslangen ("Bicycle Snake"). You'll see loads of footage as we traveled back and forth. It is truly a handsome piece of infrastructure. Even going uphill seems pretty easy!

You'll see lots of other things that will make you happy (or angry your city isn't doing more!), including waste baskets angled for cyclists, LED lights that indicate whether riders have to speed up to catch the green wave, and a cool treatment for cobblestone streets that helps make biking easier.

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  • Koen

    I've always thought that if you have a street that carries 41,000 cyclists per day, that means there aren't enough alternative roads or bridges parallel to it. From this video I gather the Copenhagen adm. drew the same conclusion. Great new developments! Bravo!

  • http://walkbikejersey.blogspot.com/ Andy B from Jersey

    Way cool Clarence! Why not come join me in Germany this September and I can show you all the cool German bike stuff and traffic calming! Seriously!!!!

  • Clarence

    After this, my budget will probably be broken, unless I can find some funding. Besides, Pittsburgh is the big ProWalk ProBike ProPlace event for 5 days in September!!!

  • Kevin Love

    Clarence, if I was a member of the 1% I would fund your wonderful films and you would be going to Germany and back to The Netherlands. Alas...

  • Joe R.

    I was thinking of how some of these things might work in NYC. The $6 million "Bicycle Snake" would probably cost at least $100 million in NYC, the NY Post would call it a big waste of money, and it ultimately would never get built because environmentalists would say it endangered some obscure river snail. In the highly unlikely event it did get built, it would probably take about 8 years. The homemade boat shown at around 6:25 would be impounded by the Coast Guard as dangerous/unseaworthy. Of course, all the people riding without helmets would give everyone fits. The young children in the cargo bikes would probably result in a call to child services.

    In the end I find myself saddened to think much of what I saw in the video will probably never happen anywhere in the paranoid, lawsuit happy US of A. We would undoubtedly be way better for it if it did, but I'm not holding my breath anytime soon.

    And I like looking at all the well-dressed, fit European females in these videos. That's another diametric opposite to what we have here in most of the US (NYC is an exception-loads of fit, attractive females here).

  • Bobberooni

    Can you please keep your mysogeny to yourself?

  • Matthias

    These are brilliant. I would love to have "bicycle green waves" on NYC streets. Most avenues are timed for 30mph traffic so a cyclist riding at 10-12mph can go no more than 2-3 blocks per light cycle.

  • Joe R.

    Even bringing the timing from 30 mph down to 20 mph if/when the avenues become 20 mph zones would make a huge difference here. Cyclists are far more likely to stop at red lights if they encounter one every 30 or 40 blocks instead of every 2 or 3.

    Of course, a better solution is to just get rid of most of the traffic signals. I don't see why traffic signals are needed every 250 feet on the avenues. Putting them only on major cross streets should be sufficient.

  • Matthias

    I've thought about that--it would probably require making minor streets right turn only at each avenue (still allowing pedestrians and cyclists to cross), but that has the downside of encouraging drivers to block the crosswalk while they are looking for traffic and making it more difficult to cross the avenue on foot. I think real roundabouts should be created at major intersections, such as 7 Av/116 St/St Nicholas Av in Harlem.

  • Justin

    Like to see SFMTA and the city and county of San Francisco adopt some of these ideas for better cycling infrastructure

  • Bill LeBlanc

    What are the Danish people's heads made of? NONE are wearing helmets! Even the little kids in the front carts are at the mercy of the thousands of other cyclists who might run into them. Danes are supposed to be smarter than that!

  • Urban_Manc

    It's more concerning what your head is made of, totally ignorance it seems.
    There are no issues because they operate a safe system, no one, even in the UK wore a helmet untill recently and only now because of a failed UK transport system.
    Head injuries are very rare, they are far more prevalent with motorists, maybe they should start wearing helmets.

    Educate yourself !

  • Bill LeBlanc

    I am a pediatrician, I am quite educated, and I've seen massive brain damage to our poor children who's parents don't think it's necessary to protect their children. Being brain disabled your whole life due to poor protection is not very smart. We also require our children to be protected in cars or the same reason.

  • Urban_Manc

    Cycling is NOT a dangerous activity, by far the biggest incidents of head injuries are sustained by those in cars, I see no helmets being advocated for car users, clearly seat belts don't prevent head injuries.

    Cyclists are far more likely to suffer internal injuries, head injuries to cyclists are very rare.

    Leisure cyclists do not require helmets anymore than pedestrians do, any issues over safety are due failed transport policies and incompetent governments promoting health damaging/killing car culture.

  • Walter Crunch

    And yet...they are fine. The whole helmet thing is driving by the car driving army. You don't NEED a helmet if a car isn't going to run you over. It's simple. I just saw you are a pediatrician. If I had a dollar for every time a pediatrician made my life or that of my friends a living nightmare...

    Want to see hell? What what happens when a pediatrician calls CPS with an unfounded complaint.

  • Walter Crunch

    Yep, in Seattle...the Northgate pedestrian bridge is scheduled to cost $25 million dollars. Funny..it doesn't travel over any water.

  • Walter Crunch

    Um...you are a being a bit sensitive. Pointed out your appreciation for someone's attire is perfectly appropriate. Get over yourself.

  • Walter Crunch

    Thank you for this video.

  • Robert

    We build inadequate infrastructure here. That is why you need one here. And actually, many new studies show that helmets make things worse, not better, because they add G Forces and provide merely superficial protection. HELMETS ARE WORSE THAN USELESS ACCORDING TO MANY STUDIES!

  • Robert

    This is also true. There is an Australian University which developed a protective headband which would go over the motorists' forehead; if adopted worldwide, it would decrease car accident fatalities by 25%, even through the airbags and seatbelts. This compares to a near useless or worse than useless effect for cyclists wearing bike helmets. So if you must complain, complain that motorists don't wear any head protection.

  • Holger Jørgensen

    I'd actually send a drawings of 'the bridge', to the planning department, long before a final solution were decided, they actually talked about a ramp, but as the founder of Cykel Logisk Institut, and in forefront of demanding better conditions for cyclists, I'd knew that it should be a bridge.
    But in all this focus, they forgot the detail in my drawing, so that people who crossed the harbour, had a possibility to turn right, where it turn left, and lead the cyclist in to a round about, and light-cross, before they can turn right.
    In the focus of main-route, this importent local cyle logical detail, of the hole project, was ignored, it dosent exists in the planners mind, but also all the thousands of daily users, could never catch that thought,
    In the developing of the area, the center, a hotel and others did'n understod
    the need of a moderne cycle infrastructure, and delayed it, untill it became real, and all want to be part of the succes.
    Cykelslange, means as well, tube as snake, that is word-play.
    To slange, and to 'sno', is to curve, wave,
    A Snog, is one of few snakes in DK, bridge is Bro, in danish, (SnoBro)
    Cph's first new era cycle-bridge are named 'bow', å-bow/buen,
    'buet', is curved.
    And, when We make these important main-corridors for cycle-flow, then dont make them that narrow.

    In Cph. is the only highway bridge with cyclepath in DK.
    Cykelslangen is the only bridge solely for cyclists, and in the meantime, the staircase has been renewed, the pedestians dont suffer.
    The Chinese who build it, have one about ten kilometre long.
    The cykelsnake was somehow the kick, that made cycle infratructure to the billion dollar industry as it is today

  • Holger Jørgensen

    The Snake, is actually a part of a distance about one km. consisting of five bridges, across, the railway, the highway, the center, the canal and the harbour.

  • RGD

    Unfortunately, helmets encourage bad habits. In the real world, helmets have not reduced head injury relative to the amount of cycling, but they have correlated with increases in the rate of injury to all other parts of the body. There appears to be no way at all of compensating for this. I know that I actually ride more conservatively without a helmet than I do with a helmet, just based on the amount of near misses I have had with and without a helmet.
    Honestly, perhaps the best policy for helmets would be a secondary enforcement law against them, meaning that if you are not breaking any other laws, you will not be fined for using it, but that if you do break laws while wearing one, they can multiple cite you. This policy would only make sense once proper infrastructure has been built, however, so in the meantime, it would likely be best to carefully advise people based on what their helmets do for them.