Encouraging bicycle commuters to travel distances beyond five kilometers came out of an automobile congestion charge program. The result was the growing Danish bicycle superhighway program - an agreement among 22 municipalities.
Each weekday morning here, hundreds of commuters in the municipality of Furesø get on their bikes for the one-hour ride into Copenhagen.
They can ride quite fast on the first stretch of trail, a straight path between quiet forest and noisy roads. Later, bikers pass blocks of drab council housing and a lake area with lots of geese before arriving in the bustle of the Danish capital. Here, the path is thick with cyclists, not just the long-distance commuters but also girls with flowers on their bike baskets and parents hauling kids in bicycle trailers.
This is Route C95, also known as the Farum route, one of two cycling “super highways” that have recently opened here. They’re part of a fast-growing network of bike infrastructure targeted specifically at suburban commuters, featuring smooth pavement, good lighting, separation from traffic, safe road crossings, rain shelters, and air pumps. A total of 28 routes with 467 km (290 miles) of cycle paths are planned. Eleven of these will be ready by the end of 2018.
It won’t surprise anyone to hear that Copenhagen, world famous for its bicycling culture, is up to something big with bikes. What’s less well known is how Copenhagen’s latest innovation happened. It’s a remarkable story of regional cooperation, forged by one big city and 21 of its smaller suburban neighbors, who came together around a common vision for moving commuters from using their cars to riding their bicycles.
“Cyclists know no borders,” says Furesø Mayor Ole Bondo Christensen, who is an avid bicyclist himself. “For them, a coherent and reliable infrastructure is important no matter which municipality they pass through.”
a tip of the hat to Jheri