The province of Ontario, along with municipalities has been pondering how to increase bicycle use by citizens. The City of Copenhagen in Denmark has come up with increasingly innovative solutions to increase ridership along with reducing their carbon emissions. Perhaps we can look to their solutions for inspiration.
City Planners are creating Cycling Super Highways which are dedicated cycle routes running to and through the city. They feature air pumps to fix flats, angled garbage cans for tossing garbage from bikes, and footrests for taking breaks. Riders can go for long distances without having to make way for cars, and without traffic lights. This plan has resulted in redesigning the congested Copenhagen traffic systems to add dedicated bike lanes and completely separated routes. They plan to construct 28 super highways by 2025 providing 495 kilometres of fast direct cycling routes from the suburbs into the city centre. Each is up to 22 km long. Cars and cycles are almost completely separated, and planners will be redesigning the entire roads system giving bikes exclusive time of day use to roads. The cost of construction is divided equally between central and local government.
There was a 10 percent increase in the number of people commuting along the first super highway in year one of its existence. The highways feature fast lanes, and conversation lanes where cyclists can ride side by side and chat. Motion sensing solar powered LED lights are being used to keep the route lit when in use. Parking facilities are also being constructed for safe storage of bikes.
This kind of system is costly but will ultimately allow Copenhagen to be Carbon neutral by 2025, and will increase fitness throughout the region. Already 30% of Copenhagen’s residents cycle daily. That’s a figure we could aspire to as well.
Photo courtesy of the NY Times