Transportation

Copenhagen Demonstrates Cycling Incentives that Work

By Ben Bull
Published September 25, 2009

Seriously, folks, let's all move to Copenhagen. A Toronto Star report today highlights the latest measures this forward thinking municipality has employed to get the city wheeling.

Measures include:

The objectives, as stated by the city's Mayor, Ritt Bjerregaard, are twofold:

  1. An 80 percent reduction in accidents by 2015, because, as everyone at RTH knows and Copenhagen city planner Niels Jensen reminds us, "When you get to a critical mass of cyclists then car drivers will start to look for them." Accident rates in Copenhagen have dropped as the number of cyclists on the road has increased.

  2. A 50 percent bike commuter rate by 2015.

Another approach the city is planning to encourage cycling is ... dis-incentivizing driving! By deploying something called, "Intelligent Traffic Control," the city hopes to get its drivers to think twice before getting behind the wheel:

Sensors that measure air pollution would regulate traffic lights. When pollution levels reach a limit, lights would remain red longer. Drivers could track routes online to determine if it's worth taking a car.

"It will create queues on some of the approach roads," says Klaus Bondam, Copenhagen's deputy mayor in charge of traffic, "The signal we want to send is that you have to use your car with careful consideration."

We are not all cyclists here at RTH and we don't hate the car, but we do advocate sustainable living and cycling is certainly a hell of a lot more sustainable than hitting the gas.

While the predictable, 'let's tax cyclists' and 'get them off the road' commentary is sure to persist on this site, the only things we need to remember are: 1) We all want to encourage cycling, and 2) We need to do what works.

Copenhagen's cycling measures work.

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 25, 2009 at 10:02:41

PeaBrain response - "b-b-b-b-but that won't work here".

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By davidvanbeveren (registered) | Posted September 25, 2009 at 12:25:08

I had the chance to visit Copenhagen this summer and was struck by how ordinary, by North American standards, their road network is. It's obvious that in decades past their streets were designed principally with cars in mind. Outside of the old centre there's lots of busy 4 lane roads with wide lanes and big intersections. That they've been able to take a system like that and effectively fold bike lanes into it shows it can be done without impeding vehicle traffic or reducing the autonomy of motorists. One additional observation related to cycling and topography - Copenhagen is in no way flat, and it was remarkable to see lines of ordinary commuters cycling up Valby Langgade, which to my eye looked to be a near equivalent to our escarpment.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted September 25, 2009 at 22:50:12

Amazing how when you make something friendly, available and safer, people do it.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted September 26, 2009 at 22:50:15

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By scorby (anonymous) | Posted September 27, 2009 at 21:04:33

Here's a better idea: let's tax people for walking. It's the cheapest mode of transportation, you don't have to pay a cent for it. Walking is surely has the most negative effect on the economy because it's free. Nothing should be allowed that is within walking distance of anything else. Also ban public transit, remove sidewalks, and only allow services to be accessed by drive-thrus. That'll really help the next generation.

A Smith you have outdone yourself.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted September 28, 2009 at 00:24:16

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By James (registered) | Posted October 04, 2009 at 08:55:37

A Smith, now I have heard everything.

Firstly, if systems are designed to ensure cyclists safety, and more people cycle, then they will discover the benefit and keep on doing it.

Secondly, Inhibiting new energy sources, "what". They are using an energy source that is proven and as old as humankind, namely their own energy.

The bicycle is the most efficent machine on the planet in converting horsepower to movement, and wastes almost nothing.

What you are saying doesnt make any sense. The other thing is is that there is enough oil to power us even at our current rate of consumption for another 40 years plus. You can extract the oil out of coal, but it is dirty oil, creates even more pollution, both in burning it and in refining it. Do you encourage this?

We cant get to alternative energy sources streight away, and by doing nothing you are delaying their implementation, its the other way around. The sooner we look to alternatives the better. We dont have time to wait for the oil to run out.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 04, 2009 at 10:25:06

James >> if systems are designed to ensure cyclists safety, and more people cycle, then they will discover the benefit and keep on doing it.

If cyclists stick to bike paths, cars and trucks won't have to worry about slow moving, hard to see cyclists, which will make their driving experience more enjoyable.

>> Inhibiting new energy sources, "what".

If cyclists don't consume gasoline, this keeps prices oil prices down, which makes investments into alternative energy sources, such as solar, hydrogen, biofuel, etc, less profitable, As a result, there will be less investment into next generation energy sources, which will slow their introduction into the marketplace.

In effect, by trying to "save the world", cyclists will actually be extending the lifespan of the "oil economy". In this regard, cyclists will be responsible for delaying the very progress they want to see take shape.


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By zookeeper (registered) | Posted October 05, 2009 at 08:45:22

OK folks, if anyone still thinks ASmith is ANYTHING other than a persistent troll, then what will it take to convince you? Please stop feeding the troll, you only encourage it and you end up with a debate that goes nowhere, wastes everyones time and prevents useful discussion among non trolls.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted October 05, 2009 at 14:56:38

Maybe A Smith is Terence Corcoran?

http://www.raisethehammer.org/index.asp?...

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