Riding a bike in Copenhagen does not inform one’s identity; riding a bike in Copenhagen is simply the most convenient, most enjoyable and cheapest way to get around. “Sometimes I compare it to brushing your teeth,” Røhl said, “…like you do not meet up in clubs, discussing how you brush your teeth. You don’t discuss cycling so much in Copenhagen, you just do it.”
Copenhagen’s story of becoming a cyclist’s eden is similar to those of many Dutch cities. By the 1970’s, cars had so encroached on the city and its quality of life, that the people of Copenhagen decided something had to be done. Protests, such as that pictured below, were held and demands for better cycling conditions were made. Since the late 70’s and early 80’s, the people of Copenhagen have insisted that planning decisions be made with cycling in mind and that convenient cycling be engineered into the city’s streets.The convenience of cycling is evidenced by the whopping 37% of Copenhagen residents who choose to cycle for transportation. Still, planners are not resting on their laurels. Bicycle Programmers, like Andreas Røhl, are always looking for ways to make city cycling even better and hope to achieve a 50% mode share by 2015.
According to Røhl, if you want to promote cycling, you should remember the following three things:
1. Do not think of an elephant (in the case of cycling, that elephant is safety).
“If you speak too much about safety, when you speak about cycling, then a lot of people get suspicious.” He points out, for instance, that airline marketing is never based on safety and crash statistics, but rather images of beautiful women and cocktails.
2. All the way from A to B, even where it hurts.
*Røhl’s primary reason for visiting San Diego was to learn more from Hanshaw, and other involved parties, about the region’s Bike-Friendly Business District Initiative.