Around on a Saturday morning at the White Center Bicycle Playground, I wheeled around fellow cyclists, some in requisite spandex, some with unicorn horns on their helmets, and at least one father-son duo in matching riding suits, reconciling their pacing differences with Bluetooth headsets. Along the way, a ride leader warned me of big hills to come, and fellow cyclists asked if I was OK when I briefly pulled over after a reflector fell off my bike.
Another, also not exactly delighting in the hills, cheered me on as we made our poky way to the rest stop at mile But the Major Taylor Project is one of these. Now in its 12th year, the program teaches riding skills and bike maintenance to youth in 17 public schools in south Seattle and Pierce County. The Major Taylor Project came out of those conversations.
Students learn the ins and outs of bike mechanics on donated bikes they later have the option of keeping. In past years, interested students have been offered a training regimen to prepare them to complete the ride in a single day. We hope for that. The Major Taylor Project also accommodates a diversity of abilities through an adaptive cycling program in Tacoma. Throughout our conversation, Brown mentions donated bicycles, comped admission to cyclo-cross events for program participants, and engagement from folks across different cycling disciplines.
The Danes generally do not like buffers or traffic islands. They feel that those areas take up valuable space that you could better use for cycling. This leads to cycle tracks directly next to fast-moving vehicles. And also to the fact that there are no protected intersections. The Copenhagen design recommendations for intersections are very different from the Dutch.
Often you see a stop line for motor traffic that is set back, giving cyclists a place to wait and then to start first when the lights change. Another option is to have a 4 second head start for cycling. If that can be given the need for the set back stop line is no longer there, according to the manual. Most traffic light installations work static. They are not fully actuated systems like we have in the Netherlands.
On most intersections the two directions north-south and east-west get an alternating green light, and that is it. Dutch traffic light installations are far more sophisticated and complicated than that.
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Which gives Dutch engineers a lot of advantages to organise and guide the separate traffic flows. It will not be soon that the Danish cyclist can influence the traffic lights with an App like we can in some cities in the Netherlands. At intersections there often is a right turning lane for motor traffic that also needs to be used by people cycling to go straight on. This feels unpleasant and counter-intuitive. Just like going to the right first in order to make a left turn.
You wait in the corner of the intersections — unprotected — for the lights to change and then you can finish your left turn. On a protected intersection you wait at a location where people going straight-on pass behind you. On a Copenhagen intersection they pass in front of you because you have moved to the right first.
Again, very counter-intuitive. Some of the larger intersections have become extremely complicated because they have more than four arms for instance. It could help to change such an intersection into a roundabout, but Copenhagen has virtually no experience with roundabouts.
There are only a few mini-roundabouts. There seems to be no desire to change that. This is different for cycle streets. There is one real cycle street in Copenhagen so far, Vestergade, but that is not much more than a sign that was put up in a further ordinary street. The Draft Cycle Statement designates eight streets that should become genuine cycle streets. Streets with a sufficient number of cyclists but that are too narrow to create separated cycling infrastructure. They also plan to use Dutch experience for that other topic: bicycle parking.
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You can take the bicycle into many trains in Denmark, but you have to carry it on the station stairs. Those stairs do not generally have grooves for the bicycle which are so common in the Netherlands. In other words: you may take the bike in the train because then not much needs to be done for cycling at the stations. We need to learn from their best practice. Test the established ways of doing things is always healthy, and the cooperation with Amsterdam can definitely challenge our conventional thinking.
The Danes sometimes boast about things that are very common in the Netherlands and overall Copenhagen lacks many things to make life better for cycling compared to many cities in The Netherlands, as I described in this post. I was under the impression that cycling in the Danish capital is quite good for many, especially when you come from a country with little to no cycling infrastructure Copenhagen will be impressive.
My trip to Copenhagen and experiencing what it feels like to cycle there has not changed my opinion. Pingback: Kann Kopenhagen als Vorbild dienen?
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Your blatantly biased assessment speaks for itself. But I can sadly see some people believing you. Much more worrying than your lack of knowledge about cycling in Copenhagen is your complete disregard of basic facts when it comes to cycle safety. So is this perception? Even if you cycle more and have 3x more people than Denmark these numbers are mercilessly in utter contradiction of your entire blog post and its conclusions. Holland is a great cycling country that has lots to offer and we can all learn much from each other.
But it does take being open minded and realistic about the facts that matter — what is happing on your streets to your cyclists. Just ask the families of the killed Dutch cyclists in about how safe it is to cycle in Holland.
Maybe start there and remember to share your positive lessons with us here as your fatalities hopefully start dropping off to an acceptable level for a cycle ambitious country. You have every right to disagree with my view of Copenhagen, but your calculations are not correct. The safety of cycling in Denmark and the Netherlands is much more similar than you think. Comparing figures of countries is notoriously hard, if you have comparable data to begin with.
You continue to gloss the facts about the much higher risks facing cyclists in Amsterdam and Utrecht than in Copenhagen today. You are comparing cities. Giving alternative facts by reaching back to national numbers that are 20 years old only confirms that you checked and saw my numbers were correct as I carefully tried to ensure. So the fact remain; Amsterdam cyclists are twice as scared and worried about their safety compared to Copenhagen cyclists — and rightly so, because Copenhagen is almost twice as safe a city for cyclists. We can all improve.
Lift your eyes and clear your thoughts. Copenhagen is trying to reach zero in a few years from the annual deaths we have currently. Maybe you can help Amsterdam and Uthrecht beat Copenhagen to zero. A far worthier cause. No, I do know acknowledge your wild interpretation of the random figures you chose to make your point. People reading this can make up their minds. End of discussion. Counting cycling fatalities without keeping in mind the number of kilometers cycled is a bad idea. First rule about Copenhagen: one does not talk about the Inner Harbour Bridge or the connecting parts … Inderhavnsbroen — the bridge that must not be named.
I have no more to say about this…. As a danish bicycle planner, who has lived in Amsterdam, I can definitely agree that Copenhagen is not all it is made up to be. Although that being said I must agree with first commenter, Mikkel — having grown up in Denmark I would prefer cycling in Copenhagen any day, over cycling in Amsterdam, Utrecht, etc.
As an example the typical CPH intersections with the blue paint, are rubbish compared to the dutch version with separated waiting areas for turning left — no doubt about it.
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Roundabouts are not often seen in Copenhagen, but there are plenty of roundabouts out in suburbia, with separated bicycle priority all way round. Same style as in the Netherlands. Just a note: the dashed line at the intersection picture with the blue paint, is not a waiting area, but a connection from the intersection to Vendersgade, for those not wishing to continue straight ahead along Frederiksborggade.
Although this shortcut to Vendersgade is extremely useful, finding the waiting areas for left turns are indeed counterintuitive when reaching this intersections — if one grows up in Denmark, the waiting area is intuitive, for most other intersections than this, but that does not mean that this should be considered best practice, but rather that it is consistent throughout the country. Pingback: Is Copenhagen a City of Cyclists? Funny how you favour your own home country.
Narrow and very uneven bike lanes and pavement all around. Next time you go to the best cycling city, maybe take off the glasses and be honest. I favour good cycling infrastructure.
Copenhagen simply is not as good as it makes the world believe it is. That is a fact that needed to be said. I had exactly the same experience a few years ago, going to Copenhagen shortly after visiting the Netherlands. There were many times I was put in situations that felt very uncomfortable, due to a lack of cycling infrastructure.
On the other hand, visiting Copenhagen feels familiar.