Creating bicycling bliss in Copenhagen

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As the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen draws to a close, some journalists took advantage of a bike tour through the city on Thursday offered by the Cycling Embassy of Denmark.

The description by one reporter at the Telegraph makes the city sound like bicycling heaven:

“Despite the drizzle and cold, for someone who bikes in London it was sheer bliss. There are bike lanes everywhere, with enough room for two or three cyclists. Cycle routes are closed to traffic and there are shortcuts by lakesides and through pretty parks. There is no weaving through traffic, running over pedestrians or throwing hand signals because you simply don’t have to, there is room for everyone.”

Dodo bird

Apparently bicycling in Denmark in the '70s was destined to go the way of the dodo bird, but members of the Danish Cyclists Federation stepped in with demonstrations to prevent turning the streets over to motor vehicles.

Now the Danes look back at our country where obesity for lack of exercise is an epidemic, urban planners stuggle to find places to put all the cars, and environmental agenices seek to control pollution from millions of cars spewing carbon dioxide.

Seattle is #1

All this comes as we learn that Seattle is the most traffic-congested city in the US.

TomTom — the maker of GPS-based car navigation systems — checked its own data to find streets where drivers can't go 70% of the posted speed limit. Seattle won with 43% rate of street congestion.

Maybe that will accelerate implementing all the changes in the city's $240 million bicycle master plan.

Pork barrel

I don't care what those fat-cat politicians in Congress say about some “pork barrel” transportation projects that provide bike racks; any money that goes to replace cars with bicycles is money well spent.

[Of course the two congressmen didn't get their facts straight regarding the Georgetown bike racks, not that they care. The “bike racks” are part of the expansion of the SmartBikes program in DC that provides low-cost bikes for rent to the public — a program designed to keep cars off the street.]

Photo above from Cycling Embassy of Denmark (I don't know about you, but I just love seeing bicycling photos from cities where they do things right).

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