This semester, our last president, Tonya Kennedy, as well as some of our other members of Envirolutions are studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. One of the first things she was eager to notify us about was the abundance of bicycles:
“Everyone bikes. Women in dresses, women in heels, women with two or more kids strapped on, men carrying handfuls of groceries, no handles with a coke in one hand and a cigarette in the other… It’s completely safe and normal. Everyone bikes! All of my professors do, and 37% of the rest of Copenhageners bike to work every day! Almost everyone’s daily life involves a cycle to or from somewhere because it’s the safest, cheapest, fastest, and easiest mode of transportation. They call Copenhagen the biking capitol of the world and now I see why!”
Bike paths on Copenhagen roads are actually raised a few inches above car paths giving bikers that curb of separation. That gap may not sound like much, but just that small division makes bikers feel a bit more comfortable and safe.
Tonya noted, “I honestly don’t think there’s a single road in Copenhagen without a clear marked route! All traffic lights have bike lights that count down so you know if you have ample time to get across, and since everyone bikes, even the people in cars are respectful, because they probably biked their kids somewhere just that morning. “
Hearing how keen the inhabitants of Copenhagen are about biking, Tonya filled us in on some interesting facts:
- Cyclists in Copenhagen travel a total of 1.2 million kilometers (745,645 miles) by bike everyday.
- There are more bikes than inhabitants in Copenhagen.
- All taxis in Copenhagen have racks for carrying two bikes.
- You can bring your bike on the S-train for free and for a small fee on the Metro
- Cyclists have priority over cars and pedestrians at many major junctions and traffic lights.
Tonya is still adjusting to the biking capital in Denmark, but what about biking closer to home? Do you bike to class everyday or just for leisure? Do you wish biking would have a greater prevelence here at Pratt or in Brooklyn? Let us know what you think by commenting on this post, writing to us on Facebook, or Tweeting at us!