Lindholm says 55 percent of Copenhagen residents commute to work or school by bike. The comparable number for Portland is six percent; and that’s tops among large U.S. cities. In Copenhagen, the road system is also geared toward cyclists. Lasse Lindholm: “When it’s snowing, during January for example, the first thing that has to be cleaned, that’s the bike paths. They clean the bike paths before they clean the roads.” The city’s Lasse Lindholm also points out how the traffic lights on busy commuter routes are synchronized to generate a wave of green lights at 12 mph. You’ll note that’s bicycle — not car — speed. On major arterials, the bike lane has its own traffic light. Lasse Lindholm: “What we are doing is that we give cyclists a ëpre-green light.’ That means that you have from 5 to 12 seconds advantage as a cyclist so you can get into the intersection and thereby become visible for the car drivers.” Gasoline costs more than seven dollars per gallon in Denmark. High taxes also discourage car ownership.
I will start packing my bags tonight. Denmark, here I come!
Click here to read the original article, “Bicycle Commuting Rising, But Still Pales Compared To Europe,” by Tom Banse for Oregon Public Broadcasting.