When Cycling Becomes the Norm

Following up on Sarah’s post this morning, here’s a Bike to Work Week special from Mikael Colville Andersen, the mastermind behind Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic. Colville Andersen’s blogs are like extended odes to urban cycling and bike culture, and in this vid he shows what bicycling looks like when it’s seen as a "normal" way to get from here to there.

Half a million Copenhageners bike each day, says Andersen. It took forty years of incremental improvements for the city to attain that level of bike ridership. According to Jan Gehl, the Danish urban consultant and NYCDOT advisor, New York City can get there in ten.

  • anonymous


  • While much attention has been paid to car-free Vauban this week, this video clearly demonstrates that cars and bicyclists can co-exist rather peacefully when their is a network of dedicated space just for cycle travel. Sometimes, it requires just giving up one lane of traffic. Additionally, most motorists in Copenhagen are also cyclists, so all receive a higher level of respect. When that happens, you know you have reached the tipping point.

  • Pursuant

    Some small points.

    1. Copenhagen is small.
    2. Average car size is small.

    There is a dichotomy between the high car taxes that Dane’s curse and their love of bicycles. My point being that private auto prices skew social behavior but their is a predisposition and social affinity to bicycles.

    While I oddly have less of a problem with exorbitant auto taxes than I do on the tolling of bridges. If such a system were presented here, it would be decried as socialist, which seems fair because it is.

    Copenhagen has more than just bike lanes. It has people who will respect them and an economically pitched playing field.

  • Like the Pitched playing field we have here for autos? You kid yourself if you think transportation in America is governed by the free market.

  • Pursuant, socialism is when the state owns and administers a nation’s major industries, not when it tolls bridges.

  • lee w

    do they have rolling stops for cyclists at stop signs in copenhagen?

  • Josef

    Pursuant, you want a good or service, you pay for it at the rate the market will bear, instead of having it be paid for by taxpayer dollars.

    That’s the idea behind modern tolling/congestion pricing systems.

    If that’s socialism, call me Stalin

  • J. Mork

    Here’s a great column about motorized socialism by SB’s own Alex Marshall:


  • Ed

    No rolling stop to my knowledge but they do have a ‘green wave’ where on certain streets if you’re going a certain cruising speed they’ve timed the lights so you’ll only see green. It’s awesome.

  • Pursuant

    Hmm, to clarify I was advocating heavy (108% to 180% in Denmark) sales taxes on automobiles over the tolls. My point was that taking a taxation policy used in a socialist country or technically democratic socialist allows one ipso facto to describe said policy as socialist.

    Narrowing your definition to a strictly economic definition while technically correct doesn’t cover the welfare state bogeymen that are unleashed when you talk about modifying public behavior for the common good.

    Josef, if everything should be paid for at what the market bears, then why do fares pay only 40% of what it really costs to run the trains and why are Triboro auto tolls paying 11% to subsidize mass transit?

    Anyway, sometimes I wonder if we’d be better off if rates were jacked up to be self sufficient rather than pursuing low fares. The two dollar fare I pay is a huge discount to the thirty dollars I would pay for a cab or parking and offers 24 hour access.


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