Posts Tagged ‘Copenhagen’

Clearing snow Copenhagen-style

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Copenhagenize recently highlighted snow removal from bike lanes and sidewalks in Copenhagen. It’s apparently a priority for both government and local business.

Snow removal and salting priorities in Metro Detroit are based on maximizing vehicle mobility.

For example, the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) based their winter maintenance priorities on motor vehicle travel volumes. According to RCOC spokesman Craig Bryson, this priority is for safety — or more specifically, the safety of motorists.

The photo on the right is from the city of Southfield, Michigan where snow has been piled near a crosswalk. The streets are well cleared. Judging by the condition of the snow pile, it’d been there a while.

In this case, Southfield might as well keep the Don’t Walk signal on 24/7.

It’s not about the bike. It’s the roads

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

WXYZ ran a tech piece on a powered bicycle wheel:

Detroit of course, is the car capitol of the world, but what if everyone started riding bicycles? That’s the vision of a group of MIT engineers.

The Copenhagen Wheel turns an ordinary bike into a smart electric hybrid. It’s a tiny motor designed to make cycling easier.

So powered wheels are what’s holding Detroit back from re-embracing the bicycle? Oh please.

A third of Copenhageners use bicycles as their primary transportation choice. It’s a flat city not unlike most of Metro Detroit. They don’t need powered wheels to make cycling easier.

What they do have is road infrastructure that encourages safe cycling — something nearly all of Metro Detroit lacks. We’ve built a metropolitan area that discourages healthy transportation choices.

WXZY should know that. They’re located on West 10 Mile in Southfield, which is a terrible road to bike on.

Powered bike wheels aren’t going to encourage anyone to ride roads designed only for powered car wheels.

We need Complete Streets and bike lanes — and that’s the real story.

It’s winter bike commuting, not the Olympics

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009


The Detroit News recently had a Tom Greenwood column on winter commuting.

As the Free Press did this spring, the media made the mistake of asking an advanced cyclist about commuting when they should have asked someone a little more entry-level. Rather than make winter commuting approachable, they made it overly technical, very expensive, and time consuming.

The “first thing” is to get carbide studded tires? If the roads are so slick and icy that you might fall, most people will drive or take the bus. Besides those tires are very expensive which only deters newcomers.

Gore-Tex? No, not necessary. Most cyclists aren’t going to commute long distances and can wear cotton and a windbreaker/winter coat. Even blue jeans aren’t a bad choice on dry days.

Shoe covers? Why not just have flat pedals and wear normal winter boots. You don’t need to use cycling shoes. You don’t need to be clipped into pedals. It’s not a race.

In the end, it’s unclear whether this article is about winter bike commuting or selling bike-specific clothing and accessories.

Is it even remotely reasonable to expect those riding to the corner store or to the local coffee shop to switch into an expensive winter cycling-specific outfit? No, just jump on your bike (any bike) and ride.

This photo from Copenhagen is a nice contrast. That looks normal. We’re guessing she’s not running carbide studded tires. That doesn’t look like Gore-Text. Those fancy red boots don’t have shoe covers. Biking mittens? They look like winter gloves to me. Simple and effective.

And she’s not riding on the sidewalk.

Does this Encourage more Bicycling?

Monday, May 18th, 2009

hollandAndreas Rohl, bike program manager for the city of Copenhagen spoke at this year’s National Bike Summit.

From Bike Portland:

On the topic of safety, Rohl had a particularly memorable insight. Of course it’s important, he said, but it’s even more important to not put too much focus on it. If you tell someone to think of an elephant, he said, they’ll think of an elephant. His point was that if advocates and planners are always talking about safety (which the U.S. is very guilty of) than people especially the ones advocates are trying to attract will assume it’s a dangerous activity.

We’ve brought this up in prior articles as it relates to the constant public message that cyclists must always wear a helmet.

Last month Copenhagenize noted the Dutch Bicycle Council’s collection of positive cycling promotions. Those photos certainly make cycling look safe, accessible, convenient and fun. There’s no lycra and almost no helmets.

ride-of-silenceContrast that with the Ride of Silence events that mourn cyclists killed or injured while biking — putting the focus on how unsafe cycling can be.

Does this message encourage more people to ride a bicycle?

Does this message make it more or less likely that parents will let their kids bike to school?

Certainly there’s a time and place to remember our fellow cyclists who’ve been injured or worst. No one is opposed to that.

And that remembrance certainly could be part of an annual (and very positive) blessing of the bikes event. That could encourage more bicycling.

For that we say, “Amen.”

[In the next revision of m-bike, we will be looking at how we portray cycling safety to the non-cycling public despite that not being our target audience.]

National Bike Summit Kicks Off

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

The 2009 National Bike Summit is underway!

Yesterday begin with a great presentation on Copenhagen, include an introduction from the Danish Ambassador to the U.S.

Some of the key points are:

  • Most Danish do not consider themselves cyclists.  They’re just people riding bikes and most everyone is doing it.
  • They typically don’t publicly address safety. When you do, it makes people think cycling isn’t safe. Although they didn’t directly tie this to bike helmet promotion, almost none of the bikers in their presentation wore them.
  • 36% of all trips in Copenhagen are by bike.  That’s a higher percentage than cars or mass transit. Their goal? 50%.
  • Having a Bike-free day in Copenhagen would cause a bigger protest than car-free.

Congressman James L. Oberstar, the father of Safe Routes to School followed.  He mentioned:

  • A new aviation bill will ensure more bicycling facilities at airports.
  • “Bicycling is going to be available everywhere.”
  • “We need to make bicyclists a standard transportation mode by law.”  He will make sure the next transportation bill explicitly designates bikes as a mode of transportation.
  • Now going to be a mode of transportation.
  • Is cycling going to be in the transportation bill?  That’s not even a question.  The question is how much.
  • “We’ve got a generation of mobility-challenged children.”