27 June 2009

Crazy New-Fangled Idea! Cycling in Parks!

Kongens Have
Another crazy and radical idea from the City of Copenhagen. Cycling in parks! Let's try it!

Ironically, cycling in parks has long been prohibited. Bicycle are transport and belong on the bicycle lanes. You can walk your bike through the parks and park them by your blanket, sure, but riding them has been a no-no. Parks are for walking/meandering/promenading.

Now the City is changing all that, making it permissable to cycle in many parks. Nice.


Kevin Love said...

Toronto parks are famous for their "Please walk on the grass" signs.

The story is that a former parks director was so annoyed by all the "Do not walk on the grass" signs in Europe that he wanted to make sure that everyone knew it was different here. See:


Marshall Taylor said...

Hey...You have an ad that is for a bike company called Veloboris? I need to check them out!

le homme au velo said...

All of our Inner City Parks are like that in Dublin you are not allowed to Cycle in them but you can Wheel your Bike in them and have them beside you when sitting Down.

In the Suburban Parks the Majority of them you can Cycle in them like, Fairview Park, Saint Annes Estate Parkland in Clontarf Raheny,Phoenix Park of Course Naturally in the Westen Part of the Metropolis . Now they are allowing you to Cycle in Ardgillen Demesne in Balbriggan Nth County Dublin.

But I cant see them allowing you to Cycle in St Stephens Green that is a Definite No No. I used to Cycle through St Stephens Green as a Child on my Raleigh Triumph on the QT when the Park Ranger was not around but one Day he caught me and I was threatened he would Confiscate the Bike if he caught me again Cycling through St Stephens Green,so that was that for me.

Things are slowly changing for the better However because of this New Found Attitude to Cycling by Dublin City Council and you never know there might be a change of Heart.

lagatta à Montréal said...

Interesting, I didn't know it was prohibited in Copenhagen parks, having been to your fair city all of once, for a conference in December (when it is dark all the time). How I wish I could be there now, with the endless days!

In Amsterdam it is certainly permitted, and a lot of commuters go through Vondelpark (and others) on their way to work.

In Montréal it is allowed in some parks, not others.

Do any of you remember the scene in the film "Max" (a very flawed but interesting film; for one thing John Cusack is far too middle-American to play a German artist and art dealer) in which the title character, who is a one-armed Great War veteran, rides his bicycle one-armed through the beautiful English Gardens in Munich?

Melbourne Cyclist said...

You're not allowed to cycle in parks in Melbourne, and I'm going to go ahead and guess the same can be said of most Australian cities. Walking with your bike is perfectly legal of course (since you're then a pedestrian), but still incurs glares from some (yes, I smile back, and make sure they have plenty of room, and am going to keep taking my bike everywhere I want to - normalising bikes one grin at a time)...

Adrienne Johnson said...

How ironic. Here in SF, we cyclists are frequently told by drivers we should "get back in the park where you belong!"

Alan Preston said...

And here in New Zealand, cyclists are banned from most( though not all) parks, especially ( and perhaps reasonably) from what can become rather muddy, grassed areas.

In our mythically most-cycle friendly city Christchurch, we're allowed to ride in the outer part of the huge Hagley Park, but not in the central botanical gardens area.
A pity because if bicyclists aren't permitted to ride IN parks, they are much less likely to ride TO them for picnics, concerts etc.
The drive-to-the-park to go for a walk lobby have been jealously maintaining their hegemony and the cycle advocacy movement hasn't been prioritising asserting right of access to all parks.

For the record, the parks in Japan are full of bicycles.


Anonymous said...

Central Park in New York caters primarily to cars, so that pedestrians and cyclists have to squeeze together on a meter-wide strip, directly (with no separation) next to the honking, speeding, polluting 2 ton vehicles. Saturday night I was riding home with a friend after a show downtown, when a police cruiser pulled up to me and told me that I was trespassing and could be issued a summons or even arrested. The driver who killed a cyclist today in Brooklyn, however, received no such threat from the NYPD. Change just isn't coming fast enough here...

Green Idea Factory said...

I definitely see a place for cycling through parks as shortcuts, or of course to places in the park itself.

A lot of course depends on the behavior of whoever is moving faster. But it would be nice to know that if your child or dog was running around a corner in a park, around some bushes, etc., you would not have to worry about even the most well-intentioned cyclist hitting them.

In my neighbourhood in Berlin, I walk in the main "car" part of the street - this is a neighbourhood with a 30 km/h limit or "play streets" with a totally-ignored speed limit of 7km/h - with my old dogs because of the cyclists hurdling down the pavements.

Cyclists need places that they can AND can't ride in.

Lovely Bicycle! said...

Kevin Love -- The university I attended in the UK had "Do not walk on the grass" signs on every possible patch of green in every courtyard, and this was strictly enforced. I am still recovering from the conditioned expectation of being shouted at as soon as my foot comes into contact with a bit of green lawn!

In Boston, bikes are not allowed inside the Boston Public Garden or the Harvard campus, which sucks. In Vienna, they are allowed inside the University of Vienna "Old AKH" campus, which I found delightfully surprising. I like bikes in parks.

Anonymous said...

As a Copenhagener I'm suprised to find out, not that cycling in parks has been allowed, but that it as such apparently was forbidden before. I knew you couldn't/shouldn't ride in Kgs Have, but allways thought of that as a special arrangement, and all though I have a vague recollections of no cycling signs at the entrance to Ørsted Parken I think I deep down understood them as saying you should ride carefully and slow, and I had absolutely no idea that I was not supposed to cycle in Fælledparken, the idea that that could be forbidden never entered my mind. And I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one.

So this is basically an instance of the law catching up to reality.


Green Idea Factory said...

Fred, generally-speaking, the problem is that once bikes get allowed they tend to observe their true nature: Being fast with little effort.

But specifically in Copenhagen, I am curious about:

* How many pedestrians are annoyed by cyclists on officially or unofficially pedestrian-priority space;

* How many bike vs. ped crashes there are with serious injuries;

* Behaviour trends regarding all of the above for the past years.

Mikael said...

"bikes true nature... fast with little effort"? boy, you really need to come to copenhagen.

the average speed is 16 km/h when 500,000 daily cyclists hit the streets. there are cyclists who use the sidewalks once in awhile, but it's rare and they ride slow.

that whole speed demon culture is foreign.

there are no statistics for "annoyed pedestrians" and the number of serious pedestrian/cyclist accidents are very few.

Melbourne Cyclist said...

Green Idea Factory: don't forget to ask for stats on cyclists annoyed by pedestrians(/motorists) on official cyclist-priority space; ped vs bike crashes / bike crashes caused by peds; trends for above.

And a reference on "once bikes get allowed they tend to observe their true nature: Being fast with little effort" would be good too.

Cyclists are not evil speed-demons hellbent on running over as many pedestrians as possible, and so do not deserve to be demonised as such. I've no doubt that you've seen some idiots on bicycles doing dumb things, but you've also seen some idiots on foot doing dumb things and some idiots in cars/motor vehicles doing dumb things. The problem isn't cyclists, it's idiots.

Green Idea Factory said...

Melbourne Cyclist and Mikael: I ride a bike for commuting a lot, too, but do I have to announce that? Did I need to mention my great cycling experiences in Aarhus and Copenhagen many years ago?

Sorry, it seems that you wanted to jump on my statements.

I know how 16km/h is compared to walking speed, which is 5km/h or less, or standing speed, which is generally 0km/h or less!

Let me be perfectly clear: I want cities to be carfree and hate that in some places cyclists end up clashing with pedestrians for the space that is not dominated by cars (apparently this is not Copenhagen, thanks for that, and also Amsterdam, thanks to Henry at www.workcycles.nl for that info).

Melbourne!: I think most people are angels, but unfortunately not enough are cyclists (or even just pedestrians).

In Berlin the pavements (sidewalks) are mainly used for movement, be it walking or - unfortunately with adults, especially those going fast - cycling, plus sitting on the side in the warmer months. What about just standing around and talking?

People here need to truly enjoy streets as places for life between buildings (reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Gehl). I am firmly convinced that people here in Berlin have just been forced to accept a lower quality of street life.

I am happy that cyclists in Copenhagen are generally angelic, but was concerned about temptation.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to back up Green. Sometimes people on this blog reacts in a very defensive manner, when you dare mention that a bike is not only used by beautiful sweet gentle women in skirts moving at an average of 16 km (and that even only downhill when everybody is okay with it).

I personally don't ride like an angel and a quick glance at rush hour traffic will tell you I'm not alone. Every rush hour there's a bike race going on in Copenhagen and I participate and love it. We're not ruthless bloodthirsty crazy people, or at least not more than people in cars. And we don't wear much more spandex than them either.

I ride my bike for several reasons, but the main reason is that it's the fastest way to get from a to b to c to d in Copenhagen. It's also cheap. And it's fun. But it's not a lifestyle, it's transportation. And speed is a factor in that. Yes it's all lovely and nice to slowly cruise through the city on a beautiful summer evening, but not in rainy windy October, and not when I'm late for an appointment. And not when I do it every day and several times a day.

Plus speed is fun.

And with that of my chest, thanks for the nice blog.


Melbourne Cyclist said...

I get defensive when comments are made about "bikes" or "cyclists" which totally generalise across all cyclists, in all places, on all types of paths/roads/wherever else; this is especially true when the rest of the comment is written in an anti-bike tone (hence my pointing out the stats Green neglected to request).

When I'm riding on a clearly marked bike path alongside a couple of lanes of cars with a 60km/h (or more) limit, I go fast. When I'm riding along a clearly marked [exclusive] bike path alongside a pedestrian path, I go a bit slower in case some idiot saunters into the bike path without looking, but still 'fast'. When I'm riding along a shared cycle and pedestrian path, I go at greater than walking pace, but a great great deal slower than I would on an exclusive path, because my common sense dictates that anything else would be daft.

So, in the context of bikes in parks, as shown in the photo, I cannot agree with the statement about bikes going fast as soon as they're allowed - if I could ride my bike into the botanic gardens here, to go for a picnic for example, I'd be sauntering, and enjoying the sun. If I was wanting to go fast to get somewhere, I wouldn't be going through the park.