For real? More bicycles than cars in the city centre of a European capital? Yes, it IS real! Get on the wheel of Copenhagen bicycle commuters.
For the first time since 1970 bicycles have in 2016 outnumbered the number of cars travelling through the city center in Copenhagen, new numbers from Copenhagen municipality's bike sensors and manual traffic counts show.
Copenhagen municipality has focused intensely to integrate cyclism in city traffic for more than 20 years. Now solutions such as broad bike paths throughout the city, a network of bridges for cyclists and a great focus on safety for cyclists have lead to more Copenhageners travelling by bike in the city centre than by car or public transportation. In 2016 256,700 bicycles were counted compared to 252,600 cars.
This article in the Guardian pays tribute to the Copenhagen approach.
What can you do in your city?
I am a typical Copenhagener in aspect of my cycling culture, which I have brougth with me to live close to Nice in Southern France. I keep on commuting on a bicycling to much surprise for a lot of people, who live here. I have been cycling since I was 2 years old, I cycled to school as a child, as an adult I lived in 20 years in Copenhagen and went on my bike on 95% of my travels around town. I owned a car for 2 years, but the bicycle has always been my number one choice for commutes in the city: It is cheap, it is a quick and easy way to get around, you can park a bike almost anywhere (at the risk of getting your bike stolen though) and you get fresh air and some exercize.
To me it is simply normal.
The infrastructure for cyclists in Nice is on a quite early development stage compared to the infrastructure I am used to from Copenhagen. But, heck, as an individual person and a small enterprise; what can I do about it?
Engage with likeminded people
Luckily, I have met some really cool people here, who would also like to develop the infrastructure for cyclism. I am quite exciting as this week I will meet with local initiators of an organisation, which works to promote cyclism as a part of the infrastructure in Nice!
Raise your voice: share your experience and passion for cycling
What I for years have taken as a standard and normal, now turns out to be the top dollar example of city infrastructure. Photos I have taken a bit by chance in streets of Copenhagen during the past year, I will now use to show Danish cycling infrastructure to the bicycle warriors in Nice - hopefully they can inspire the cool Nicoise people and our voices will be heard on a political level, so in the years to come - the Côte d'Azur with its fabulous climate for cycling will get a more bicycle friendly infrastructure and more people will get out of their cars and on a bike!
Meet up and take action!
If you are based in Nice: Hope to see you at the meeting on Wednesday 7. December. NB the location has changed, so have a look at the Facebook page for Nice à Vélo.
Yours truly Cycling Viking and Owner of Lifesparkz Bike Tours
Tina Baltzer, owner of Lifesparkz Bike Tours.