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.
A "Green Wave" - for cyclists! Cyclists riding at an average speed of 20 km/h are rewarded with a sea of green lights on the cities busiest streets. Imagine that riding down Main!
Bike crossing lanes at major intersections.
Advance green lights for cyclists.
Recessed stop lines for cars, to improve visibility and caution.
The objectives, as stated by the city's Mayor, Ritt Bjerregaard, are twofold:
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.
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.
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