cph, the cyclists’ city

November 9, 2007


i’ve been meaning to write a post on bicycles in copenhagen, so when my friend alyse nelson’s valle research of last year was featured in the seattle p-i yesterday, i thought it would be fun to share. alyse put together a great report that basically describes how copenhagen works so well as a cycling city: cycle-friendly policies, strategic street and bicycle lane layout, and the city’s underlying infrastructural design principles. she also includes lots of personal observations in the form of photos and case studies. it’s definitely worth checking out. alyse also observes something that i’ve noticed (both here and in the netherlands): everyone cycles, regardless of age or social status. you don’t need to have special biking clothes or gear to fit in (ahem, seattle…). most danes have two bicycles, a “good” one for serious cycling and a beater for riding around the city. it’s a healthy lifestyle, and it greatly reduces the need for personal vehicles. (i have a theory that these northern europeans are able to stay so trim even in lands of wonderful dairy products and pastries because they’re biking every day…) and because the bicycle infrastructure is so integrated with other transportation networks, especially those of automobiles, it’s much safer to ride a bicycle here. motorists expect the bicycles to be on the road (though in their respective lanes, of course), and they are constantly on the lookout for them. i wish i felt as comfortable biking in seattle as i do here – relative to other u.s. cities, it’s a great place for cycling, but it could be much better. glad to see that alyse’s research is being circulated so widely. if you’re interested, pass it on! : )


bicycle lane and parking in højbro plads, a favorite copenhagen plads.

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