As this video from CrankMyChain.com shows, in Copenhagen the coexistence between pedestrians, bikes, and automobiles is a thing of beauty.
It is, however, easy to romanticize Copenhagen. As the video notes, Copenhagen’s bicycle bliss is achieved in part through massive taxation on automobiles and gasoline–a fact noted unhappily by many of the Copenhageners we met there last summer. But where Danish government has forced its citizens onto bikes with taxes, in the United States, we’ve lured citizens away from trains and bicycles with subsidies to the petroleum and automobile industries. One wonders what kind of transportation mix would grow in a free market.
It’s also taken Copenhagen close to 100 years to develop its cycling infrastructure, so one wonders if American Master Plans might not need to take a similarly long-view. In Boulder, an American city notable for being bicycle-centric, we are slowly and relatively quietly developing an excellent system of bike paths which, like Copenhagen, separate bicycles from traffic and help make it safe for lots of people to ride. What we need now, though, are some ubiquitous commuter bikes like the ones they use all over Europe: cheap, light, and comfortable….