A Bike-centric Approach to Transportation: Superhighways in Copenhagen

July 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

In Denmark, a new highway was recently opened, only this one wasn’t for cars but for bikes. Copenhagen is renowned for being extremely bike friendly–perhaps one of the friendliest cities to cyclists. And this highway is proof of the cycling culture enjoyed by its residents.

Copenhagen residents prefer biking to taking a car or public transit, both for its convenience and the pleasure (Flickr, Creative Commons, Montgomery County Planning Commission)

Apparently the highway’s construction is motivated not so much by the desire to create a more sustainable living environment, but rather for people’s enjoyment and convenience. People already bike so much in Copenhagen central, and this highway allows those who live out in the suburbs and nearby metro area to bike as well and avoid the chaos of public transportation or having a car.

Dubbed “Superhighways,” there were originally supposed to be 13 of these roads. Since 2009 when the initial plans were being drawn up, that number has doubled, with 26 now in the works. 300 kilometers (or 186.4 miles) of bikeable highway will be built, stemming out from Copenhagen to nearby areas. The highways are more than just bikepaths, too. Cool initiatives are being taken to make these routes as enjoyable and efficient as possible.

Among the cool innovations are garbage cans placed at an angle to make for easy rider access. Two lanes in each direction allow bikers to ride next to one another and chat while commuting. Ramps on the side of the road provide riders with a footrest when they need to stop. And they’re even going to try and coordinate the signals on roads and the superhighways, to ensure that bikers don’t have to wait long for pauses in road traffic.

Commuting to and around the city of Copenhagen will now be easier, thanks to the 26 bicycle highways to be built (Creative Commons, Flickr, grapfapan).

Additionally, Copenhagen ran a successful “karma campaign” last year, which consisted of street volunteers who would patrol the superhighways, rewarding conscientious bikers with chocolates and other goodies. Anything from wearing a helmet to waiting patiently for the traffic lights was considered good–and rewardable–behavior.

Let’s just hope office buildings in Copenhagen have showers and changing rooms so that professionals aren’t walking around in sweaty athletic gear!

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