23 June 2009

Copenhagen Bike City

Here's a film made by a good friend of mine, Thorsten Dreyer, highlighting some of the active players in our bicycle culture peppered with heaps of bicycle eye candy. A lovely little film.


Anonymous said...

Very nice.

However, one thing that really made me flinch was at 2:16 where a stream of cyclists pass a car on the inside as the car waits to turn.

In most of Europe, passing motorized vehicles on the inside at junctions is the maneuver that most commonly results in serious injury.
Do the traffic lights tell the car to wait, or is the motorist aware from experience that cyclists will pass on the inside? Or both?

I presume that the law is as in the Netherlands and cyclists are permitted to do this? In Dublin, it's quite a common maneuver, but it's completey illegal.

Finally, do Danish cyclists find themselves unconsciously trying maneuvers like this when they cycle in other countries? I used to have Dutch friends who lived in Dublin and when they first cycled there they used to place themselves in somewhat hazardous situations because the expectations of how they would behave were so different from the Netherlands.


Mikael said...

that was speeded up at that point. cars wait for cyclists, who have the right of way when continuing straight on. that motorist is a cyclist, too.

no flinching necessary.

i think most people realise when cycling in other countries that the traffic culture is different. i know Danes living and cycling in many parts of the world and, as homo sapiens, they adapt quickly to the different situation.

Gerry Gaffney said...

Beautiful film.

I wonder does Copenhagen assign a monetary value to the income from tourists attracted to the city because of the lifestyle implied by the number of people cycling?

Melbourne Cyclist said...

In Australia it's illegal to pass a car on the inside once it's started signalling to turn across your lane. They're not allowed to start signalling if you're already next to them though - in that case they have to let you go first.

What actually ends up happening is cyclists merrily pass on the inside when the cars are stopped but signalling, but then (hopefully!) let the car go once the car-traffic starts moving. Also, you get some cars accelerating like crazy to get in front of you, signalling and pulling across as soon as the back of their car is a cm or two clear :-(

I've never been to Copenhagen, more's the pity, but I have visited Amsterdam. What I found bizarre cycling there was that my active awareness of stuff happening around me (stuff I watch for here, like pedestrians dashing across roads, car doors opening etc) actually went down quite a bit, and I relaxed a lot, because I felt so safe there compared to here. Not sure if that put me at greater danger of a crash or not (I didn't crash, so hard to tell!), but it was a very nice feeling.

mags said...


Bicycle virus: the more you see bicycles, the easier they are to see.

Aushiker said...


Great video ... love those cargo style bikes. Very practical.


Anthony Siracusa said...

The cargo bike race sounds fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Automobiles do not emit CO2 either. Only their motors in operation do.

Bicycles do not emit CO2 in operation, if you hold your breath while riding.

Yes, I know all about the carbon cycle and have been an advocate of living inside of it for some decades, but would like to see the issue addressed with the techniques of informed rationalism rather than the techniques of religious apologetics.

Labeling CO2 emissions, the very stuff of LIFE as we know it, as inherently evil will simply take us down the road to a theological nightmare in which life itself is Evil.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 18:15,

CO2 emissions from fossil fuels return CO2 into the atmosphere that left it millions of years ago. CO2 emissions from respiring organisms return CO2 into the atmosphere that left it at most a few months ago (fixed into food). The former increases the net amount of CO2 in the troposphere, the latter does not. That is the reason for the differentiation between CO2 emitted by cyclists and CO2 emitted by motorists, surely?

Of course, the motorists also emit many times more CO2, but that is another story.

Dealt with well here:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 15:58

Go back and read my post again. I am well aware of the carbon cycle and its implications. One of those implications is that the carbon is in those fossil fuels in the first place.

Because CO2 is the very stuff of life. Carbon and oxygen are the very stuff of YOUR life. There is no long term natural result to be expected from an increase in the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere than an explosion of LIFE.

One of the neat things about CO2 is the way it packages the stuff of your life in a self container that prevents the corrosive effects of oxygen from DESTROYING all life, and yet with the application of a little energy to a converter makes it available for your use in safe quantities.

Let me give you a slightly different point of view of the use of fossil fuels:

One of the things that irks me about it is that the "fossil" remains of ancient plants is such incredibly wonderful stuff; and what do we do with this stuff?

We just BURN it for no other reason than to move a multi ton object a few miles in the act of moving our puny little selves, blessed with the birthright of self mobility, a few miles (or maybe only a few blocks).

One of the things that irks me about those multi ton objects in particular is the way we destroy the landscape of the Earth and of our LIVES to accommodate THEM (not us).

And there is no particular reason for them to even exist. I don't mean that there is no particular reason for AUTOMOBILES to exist; I am speaking to their current form and application, which typically takes the form of using a jackhammer to drive a wire brad.

It is almost enough to make me believe in the concept of Sin. It makes me sick at heart to look at it all.

I am also, as an American who has been a transportational cyclist for some decades, aware of Ken Kifer.

There is another reason to be irked by those multi ton objects.

A cycling clubmate of mine was also killed by a drunk at the wheel of a pickup, back when I was a university physics student during the first great gas scare.

I miss them both.

Ride on. Ride well. Ride with due caution, but without fear; and ride (at least most of the time) with Style over Speed.

And should you, in future, ever have cause to miss me as I miss George and Ken -- plant a tree. That would make me happy.


Dan Pugatch said...

North American Bike Messenger Championships are in Boston, Massachusetts USA this year, come and race me! I ride a cargo bike for work!

Dan, Not Your Average Bicycle Messenger

Metro Pedal Power

amigosito said...

Great video, I have shared this with many friends in hopes of inspiring them to get off their duffs and ride their bikes.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 15:58

The claim that carbon in food was fixed from the atmosphere into plants is strictly speaking true, but in ignorance of the fact that current agriculture uses huge oil inputs. In many ways, we are eating oil, even if it's not directly the carbon in it (save for some high-tech greenhouses that actually get CO2 from fossil fuels).

That said, the emissions from motoring are obviously on an entirely different level compared to cycling.