The city has definitely hit a remarkable milestone recently, when bikes outnumbered cars for the first time in the modern history of the city. As traffic congestion is a major issue in cities across the globe, the Danish capital managed to demonstrate the viability of bikes as a solution. Will other cities follow this model?
2015 saw Copenhagen as the world’s most bike-friendly city, according to the famous Copenhagenize index. Numbers say it all, as bicycle travels have increased an impressive 68% in the last 20 years and 35,000 more bikes were recorded on the road over the past year. The estimated daily total of 266,000 bikes clearly exceeds the 253,000 cars and even more so, the number of only 100,000 bicycles recorded in 1970.
Investments have definitely paid off, but now the cycle lanes start being overcrowded and further efforts are required in changing road designs. This has to be done in a cautious manner, according to Morten Kabell, the current mayor of technical and environmental affairs. Despite being satisfied with recent developments, he expects the figure to decline, due to the opening of the subway extension in 2019. For now, more than half of the people living in the city use their bikes, while only 20% rely on public transport and 14% drive daily.
What is remarkable about this achievement is the active involvement of the civil society. Two months ago, people were asked to help with suggestions regarding the biking infrastructure, and over ten thousand people reacted, in a matter of days, pointing out missing and narrow lanes, as well as heavily congested areas.
Due to numerous economic benefits, along with reducing pollution and improving well-being, other cities are committed to following this role model. In London, for instance, the number of bikes recorded in the city during rush hour times has more than doubled between 2004 and 2014. Car journeys have also significantly dropped (by 22,000), major cycling lanes have proven to be effective and the cycle hire scheme is becoming more popular. China’s megacities have also been improving cycling infrastructure and creating bike-hiring schemes.