24 June 2010

Copenhagen Bicycle Superhighways

Here's a film from Current.com about the new bicycle superhighways being built here in Copenhagen.

Last winter I rode around with the lads from Trunk Films - it was bloody cold that day. -5 and with the windchill we hovered around -20. Beautifully filmed, despite the frozen cameraman fingers!


Kenny said...

Couldn't help smile at the ending with the graphic screen in the end that says "Urban mobility - brought to you by Scion".

Scion is Toyota's newest car brand, directed at the young urban generation in the US.

Anonymous said...

After having been to Copenhagen I was quite disappointed. I tried the 20km/h thing, where I had to really slow down so I didn't get to a red light. Towards the end one phase was different and I didn't make the green. My computer then showed an average of 18km/h. Why call it 20km/h when it is 18km/h?

It was equally disappointing to see straight-through motorists having longer green phases than bicyclists. They call it safety because they stop straight through bicyclists to let right-turning motorists through. Most lights however have both - right-turning motorists and straight through cyclists green at the same time, then bicyclists get red, while motorists (both straight-through and turning) still have the green light.

You also can't make left turns as a bicyclist. You always have to go straight through, then turn your bike and wait for the green light (effectively this means you *always* have a red light somewhere, unlike motorists, who have the chance of making it across in one swoop).

In a simple 15-min test I was three minutes faster when (illegally) making a direct left turn on just three or four intersections.

My observations were confirmed by a bike messenger. They'd be out of their jobs if they would follow the discriminating rules for bicyclists.

Probably the biggest invention is the foot rest, although I didn't even notice them until a kid was playing on it. I haven't seen a single cyclist use them when I was there.

christhebull said...

@Anon: Still miles better than that London crap though...

Mikael said...

so the sight of hundreds of thousands of Citizen Cyclists contributing to the life of a liveable city by riding bicycles didn't appeal?

you look at a bicycle computer and focused on all manner of techgeek negativity instead?

whatever. to each his own.

William said...

It's not quite correct what you write regarding left turns.
You're not allowed cross the intersection in one fluid motion, but you don't have to wait for the second green light. When doing a left turn, you may ride against the red light.
(If anyone disagrees -> https://www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/R0710.aspx?id=121716#Kap7)

Klaus Mohn said...

Case in point: CPH infrastructure is not for people who have bike computers. it's for the rest of us.

Andy B from Jersey said...


To give our anonymous critic some credit for his analysis, didn't you go on a rant recently about why people choose to ride in Copenhagen because its the quickest way about the city even at Cycle Chic speeds?

20kmh is a bit slow for the maximum speed by which the "Green Wave" should work for cyclists. And if its really 18kph (10.5mph), then it sounds like it stops being effective.

I also agree with him about left turns. Cyclists should legally have a choice and have infrastructure that supports that choice as well.

I found his/her critique quite informative and educational. One must always keep an open mind.

BTW, I have bikes with and without computers. My usual rides to work however, do not.


Andy B from (VERY HOT) Jersey

Andy B from Jersey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William said...

Another thing just occurred to me, though it might be a bit insulting to suggest..
@anon. Are you aware that the green wave changes direction, and at different times of day does not 'work' when going towards or away from center of town?

Anonymous said...

@christhebull: I don't remember much bad stuff from my bike tour through London and Southern England, but that was a while ago. I understand that at least in England you are not forced to use bike paths.

@Mikael: No, I generally ride without a computer, but wanted to see if it's true that there is a 20kmh speed limit enforced. The thousands of bike people are great, but I also saw them when there weren't bike paths, so I don't quite understand your point?

@william: that sounds crazy. you are now to the right of cars going straight and you are allowed to cross the roadway? That sounds like an invite to commit suicide.

@ Klaus Mohn: it seems it is also usually the rest of you who tend to get more frequently into right-turning accidents... I'd prefer to have less cars in cities and don't see how that is accomplished by giving them more opportunities for maximum speeds. Look at the 1937 Copenhagen videos on youtube.

@William: yes, I was going in the direction of the green phase at the time of day it indicated (had to do it on my last day, since it's turned off over the weekend).