08 December 2011

World's Most Northernly Bike Lane

In the previous post we started the search for the northernmost cargo bike in the world. One of our readers, Stefan, led us to another northern pearl.

Is this the world's northernmost separated bicycle infrastructure? The film is from Longyearbyen - Long Year Town - on the archipelago of Svalbard, now belonging to Norway.

The islands were discovered by a Dutchman, Willem Barents, and claimed by the Danish King Christian IV (Norway was a part of Denmark until 1814) - so right there are good and understandable reasons for the existence of a bicycle culture.

Longyearbyen is the world's most northernly town and has a population of just over 2000.

Stefan pointed out a few highlights on this "bicycle ride to the sailing club", as the title says in Norwegian.

1:10 - It's not quite a cargo bike, but a bike with trailer!

From 1:40 to 4:04 they have separated bike/pedestrian path all the way through 'downtown,' complete with bike symbols on the signage. That is just amazing!

It's kind of hard to make out but I'm quite sure they have bike racks in front of the hospital at 3:05 and the hotel at 4:06.

In total I count about 31 bikes just from this trip!.

Amazing indeed. Bicycles parked outside of many of the houses, bike racks, a separated bicycle path (shared with pedestrians, which is cosy) and all of this within spitting distance of the North Pole. Traffic planners were thinking bicycle, even here. Planning for bicycle traffic, however modest. Staring the Bull in the flared nostrils and implementing Best Practice so as not to ignore the beast. And it's not like there aren't motor vehicles in the town.

Send this to your local traffic planners and embarass the hell out of them. I'm sure there is a drop in bicycle traffic in the winter, but there is still infrastructure in place to accomodate for bicycles during the 'warmer' months.
almost there
Here's a photo from Flickr with three people cycling out to "Mine 3" on Svalbard. Note the rifle on the person on the right... this is polar bear country. Thanks to reader "ejg" for the link to this.

Now if only we can figure out if there is a cargo bike in the town, we'll have a winner of the world's most northernly cargo bike!

Visit Svalbard.