09 December 2010

Vintage Bicycle Traffic Photos from Copenhagen

Chic cycling Copenhagen 1938
Sandra from the Classic Copenhagen blog sent us a couple vintage postcards from Copenhagen. This one, above, is postmarked August 5, 1938. It was taken on Østerbrogade. The bicycle lane in the photo - separated from the traffic by a curb - is back in place on the street. After the urban planning brain fart that was the 1950's and 1960's.

Town Hall Square vintage postcard
No date on this postcard but I'm guessing early 1950's. Don't look at the postman in the middle for reference, the uniforms are largely unchanged. Again, bicycle lanes sending the Citizen Cyclists in a steady stream from A to B.

Town Hall Square, vintage postcard from Copenhagen
Here's a shot from the City Hall Square. Citizen Cyclists in their safe and rightful place, free to move about the city.
Copenhagen City Hall Square 1950s
We figured we'd dig out our own vintage collection and add them to this post.
At times the bicycle traffic was so intense in the city centre that bicycles filled the width of the street. There were, however, fewer cars back then. Nowadays, of course, it's a different story. Requiring different solutions.

Copenhagen - Strandvejen 1955
A shot from 1955. Might have blogged this one before. Taken on Strandvejen, north of Copenhagen. About 8 kilometres from the City Centre. This is the morning rush hour.

Copenhagen Rush Hour Traffic ca. 1950
Gyldenløvesgade, around 1950. The width of the bike lanes was considerable even then and on this stretch they were even separated with leafy trees.

Langebro 1950s
Aerial shot of Langebro Bridge over the harbour. It looks much the same as it does today. Citizen Cyclists have their own lane on both sides.
Langebro 1950s Langebro 1950s
As you can see here from the 1950's as well.
Langebro 1975 Over the Bridge2
And here in 1975 and the present. Elsewhere in Copenhagen during the late '50's and 60's bike lanes were removed when our urban planning started to revolve around the car. Langebro Bridge, however, has remained unchanged through the decades.

Copenhagen Vintage Traffic
Bicycle Traffic in the 1930's. Cyclists keeping to the right.

Copenhagen - Dronning Louises Bridge
Early 1930's as I recall. In a city without automobiles, the two-wheeler is king. Those were the days.
Copenhagen - Dronning Louises Bridge 1930s
Interestingly, even on streets that lacked separated infrastructure [usually due to overwhelmingly high levels of bicycle traffic], Citizen Cyclists stick to the right, to the curb.
Copenhagen Bicycle Traffic in Rush Hour


ED said...

Lovely collection of vintage shots MIkael!

Mark said...

Great to see those UTRECHT signs on the first two colour pictures! I remember they were still there when I first visited Copenhagen in 1973. I found it so nice to see the name of my hometown (after which an insurance company was named) so far away. More Utrecht & Cycling.

Classic Copenhagen said...

Ah, this is luxe. Cool to see so many vintage bicycling pics together. And my name in neon. Thank you, Sir.

Yokota Fritz said...

Love this photo essay!

The photos illustrate the chicken-egg question that's so often posed in the United States: What came first, the bikes, or the facilities?

dominic said...

There was a world wide depression going on. The USA photo archive is nothing like the free and easy expressions on those bicyclist in your archive. The USA depression had the look of down and out. Soup lines and Dust Bowls. As for biking here 75 years later, you could say we are still depressed. But things are looking up if you look in the right places with the right heart.

Daniel Sparing said...

Interesting to see the trams too on the pictures.

Given that there are still plenty of 2+2, 3+3 and 4+4 lane roads in Copenhagen, with bike lanes, I find it surprising that there are no successful light rail projects there.

After all, there must be directions where the demand lies between the small buses and the high capacity but super-expensive metro.