2 May 2008

Here's to Optimism

'When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.' So wrote H.G Wells, and we here at Copenhagen Cycle Chic agree completely.


village mama said...

me three ;-)

Velorution said...

I don't get it. Why are the people on bikes waiting in line, when they could go on the road and get ahead?
Are Danes closet-Englishmen and love queuing?

Colville-Andersen said...

They're all stopped at a red light. Traffic, as a rule, stops for red lights. :-) Whether you're in England or Denmark or most anywhere else.

Colville-Andersen said...

Oh, and veering onto the road isn't wise, considering the weight difference between a bike and a car.

There are cyclists who jockey for the best position, but most people choose Style over Speed in Copenhagen.

Velorution said...

I am a full subscriber of the Style over Speed club.
However the picture shows lots of cyclists queuing on a small cycle lane and next to them, large areas of tarmac (dedicated to cars) empty.
Why aren't the cyclists colonising the empty tarmac?
That would really be Style over Speed.

Colville-Andersen said...

Now it's my turn not to get it... :-) why would they 'colonize' the empty tarmac? We've spent 40 years developing the world's best cycling culture, building wide bike lanes for cyclists, separated from the motorised traffic and the result is a peaceful coexistence between the transport forms.

The guy in the car next to you is a cyclist, too. He's just made another transport choice today. He won't drive on the bike lane, and cyclists, in situations like the one above, don't need to aggravate their fellows citizens by crossing the line.

It's respect for the infrastructure and for each other. Unique to Copenhagen in many ways, but similar in the Netherlands and Germany and Switzerland.

seashantyme said...

hey! this is my most favoristist blog. beautiful photo-journalism !! i just wish i could convince my family to move to Copenhagen.....

Velorution said...

Zakka, that sounds so 20th century!
Cars are on their way out, so why is much tarmac is wasted for them? Why are the people on bikes so deferential to the people on their left, who drive too fast, are noisy and smelly?
I am in favour of cycle lanes, but they shouldn't become a prison. The picture clearly shows that space is misallocated: tens of cyclists in a narrow lane NOT MOVING, while there is plenty of free space on their left. Something is wrong there.
... and why should car drivers be aggravated to share the road with cyclists? Who has given them the right for sole use of such large percentage of the URBAN REALM?

Anonymous said...

Andrea and Seashantyme:
The empty car lane immediately to the left is actually a right-turn lane. You can see the arrow painted on the road surface. The lane to the left of that appears to be quite full of traffic. So are you suggesting the the cyclists should ride over the dividing kerb and down onto a right-turn lane, continuing along it for 10 or 20 metres ... until what? Jumping up the kerb back onto the bike lane at the last minute? To me that seems very uncool - and dangerous, and disrespectful to the other riders.
If you prefer the adversarial "it's urban warfare" attitude, you can keep it in your own town. And let Copenhagen continue to roll the way IT likes, with civilised cycle chic.

Colville-Andersen said...

Cars aren't going anywhere and I certainly don't hope they do. There will always be cars. I like cars.

This odd idea that all cars are bad and all motorists are 'evil' is not one that I adhere to.

I'm not some goofy, hippy activist with a head filled with pipe dreams and a middle-finger raised in anger at motorists.

Here in the real world, in real bike cultures, the goal is increasing bike usage among the population and allowing people to use their bike if they like. Creation of segregated bike infrastructure is the key to providing people with a safe, sensible alternative.

It's all about mutual respect. The motorists who use the lane on the left are your neighbour, your coworker, what have you. Citizens who do just as much for society as the cyclists on the right. If you respect your fellow citizens, they'll respect you.

If you resort to some sort of anarchy and shit all over your fellow citizens, then that isn't much of a society.

Me? I prefer the civilised - and realistic - route.

What we've done in Copenhagen is create a bike c