Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 22nd, 2011 at 11:00 am
Among planners and bike advocates, Copenhagen is often held up as the apotheosis of a cycling city; a place that “gets it” when it comes to bicycling more than any other city in the world.
But, if an article in The Copenhagen Post (an English-language newspaper), is any indication, there are cracks forming in Copenhagen’s bike-first foundation.
In Dissidents in the City of Cyclists (published last month), the Post reporters paints the picture of a growing backlash against the way Copenhagen city planners insist on giving bicycles such high priority in transportation projects.
Here’s one of the opening paragraphs:
Amidst the fanfare of proposals and newly rolled-out projects for bicyclists, it is sometimes tempting to forget that “the city of cyclists” still has residents who do not want to a ride bicycle, thank you very much. Some Copenhageners still prefer to walk or even – gasp! – drive a car.
The article features comments from the chair of the Danish Pedestrian Association, Mikael le Dous.
le Dous feels like the boom in bike infrastructure and the lobbying power of the 17,000 member strong Danish Cyclists Association has led to a feeling among people who ride that they can pedal the streets wherever they want “with impunity.”
“We started our organisation a little more than five years ago,” le Dous told The Post, “precisely out of frustration with cyclists who violate traffic laws.”
le Dous feels like the numbers of people bicycling combined with their sometimes unsafe behavior is making Copenhagen less livable. “You cannot relax and you have to be alert. You cannot let your children run around…Plus bicycles are a big force compared to old people and children.”
Read the full article here.
I’d love to hear from someone who lives in Copenhagen or who has spent time there. It’s one thing to have push-back to bike infrastructure in New York City, but Copenhagen?!