Pedal Pushers: Denmark Unveils a Bike Commuter's Dreamland
Imagine a city fed by dozens of miles-long bike super highways, separate from roads, streetlights, and harried drivers. Imagine living 10 miles outside a metropolis and zipping home from work—faster than you would in a car—on a solar-lit, asphalt ribbon, eliminating one ton of your personal carbon load annually. Witness the latest reason that Copenhagen is officially a bike commuters' Shangri-La: a bike super highway connecting the city to the suburb of Albertslund.
This bike super highway is just the first in a network of 26 total that will feed Denmark's biggest city—a web of bike-only avenues intended for utilitarian commuting, not just weekend joy riding. The Swedes have their own plan in the works for an inter-city bike highway as well. London also has a network underway, with one bike-only road complete and six more expected by 2015. The New York Times reports that, at least for the Danes, this isn't necessarily a environmental movement per se:
In Denmark, thanks to measures like the superhighway, commuters choose bicycles because they are the fastest and most convenient transportation option. “It’s not because the Danes are more environmentally friendly,” said Gil Penalosa, executive director of 8-80 Cities, a Canadian organization that works to make cities healthier. “It’s not because they eat something different at breakfast.”
Denmark is throwing money into making bicycle commuting even more attractive in a country where roughly half use pedal power already to get to school or work. Perhaps the Scandinavian model will light a fire here in the States to restart a grand plan for a coast-to-coast bike superhighway, or at least some burb-to-city ones. In the meantime, 2-wheeled flash mob activists will continue to make their own bicycle super highways.