In Copenhagen, Denmark, half of its residents already commute to work by bike. While this may seem like a feat in and of itself—and while it is a pretty remarkable one at that—Copenhagen city planners don’t want to stop there. According to an article in The New York Times, the head of the city’s “traffic planning section,” Brian Hansen, says this: “We are very good, but we want to be better.”
Hence Denmark’s new cycle superhighway: a stretch of bike path interstate that’s slickly paved, replete with a bike pump at every mile along the way. This first superhighway opened in April, and is just one of 26 that are planned to be built in the future.
Hansen and his team of planners created the superhighway to offer commuters outside of the city limits a safe and convenient alternative to car travel. Via the article:
They decided to make cycle paths look more like automobile freeways. While there is a good existing network of bicycle pathways around Copenhagen, standards across municipalities can be inconsistent, with some stretches having inadequate pavement, lighting or winter maintenance, as well as unsafe intersections and gaps.
For the superhighway project, Copenhagen and 21 local governments teamed up to ensure that there were contiguous, standardized bike routes into the capital across distances of up to 14 miles. “We want people to perceive these routes as a serious alternative,” Mr. Hansen said, “like taking the bus, car or train.”
Because the option of this bicycle superhighway exists in Denmark, its residents recognize the bicycle as a seriously viable transportation option. These cyclists aren’t hopping on their rides because they’re trendy or even for the added benefit of the exercise; they’re riding bicycles because—as the article states—”they are the fastest and most convenient transportation option.”
We’re loving the concept of the cycle superhighway, and hold high hopes that its concept will gain popularity in the U.S. and someday take fruition on our home turf. Wouldn’t it be amazing to ride for many miles among fellow bicyclists on a finely-paved road? We think so!
PHOTO Via: Marionzetta