I have seen the future, and it’s in Copenhagen. I traveled there last week for the Velo City Conference, a meeting of bicycle advocates from around the world. It was outstanding. My favorite part? The 2-hour private tour of Copenhagen by bike. It was AWESOME!!!
In the United States, 1.4% of trips—to the store, to work, to the ball field, to school, etc.—are taken by bike. In Germany it’s 10%, in Holland it’s 25%, and in Copenhagen, it’s 37%. They want to get to 50%. In Copenhagen they have figured out that the bicycle is a simple solution to many complicated problems.
In Copenhagen even the car drivers love bicycles, because each bike is one less car on the road and less congestion. One bridge in Copenhagen has 35,000 cyclists crossing it every day! Pollution in the city is way down, and I did not see an obese Dane the entire time I was there. Not one. In America, 2/3 of our citizens are overweight or obese. We just passed the largest health care bill in history, and how many words did you hear about people taking personal responsibility for their health? I guarantee you that the entire amount of money Copenhagen has spent on bicycle infrastructure has been saved on health care costs 5 times over. What amazed me is that a lot of the infrastructure isn’t that expensive—just simple solutions to create a buffer between cars and bikes so people feel comfortable and safe riding their bikes, every day.
If you ever get the chance, go to Copenhagen. And see the future.