Danish bicycle culture as a good of export
The Royal Danish Consulate in Macon has promoted cycling and safety at many events in the city. For example, they partnered with Bike Tech, Houndstooth Road bicycles, the Danish American Chamber of Commerce, the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce, and the World Chamber of Commerce to organize a “Bicycle Night in Central Georgia” which set focus on cycling and safety.
The Consulate has also imported a Danish cargo bike which is used at events, speaking engagements, and parades to build awareness about cycling.
“Cycling is clean, green and healthy. Although recreational cycling is already popular in Georgia, the expansion of both recreational and commuting cycling opportunities will enhance an already high quality of life for our residents. Our Triobike garners much attention when used at events. It is an excellent tool to use to open a dialog to promote more cycling and best practices in our area. Such a dialog has also encouraged avid cyclist to consider Denmark as a tourist destination,” says Christopher N. Smith, Honorary Consul at the Royal Danish Consulate in Macon, Georgia in the U.S.
Macon is the 4th largest city in the state of Georgia. In recent years, the city has launched a number of bicycling initiatives along with many other local partners. Bike lanes have been added as well as a bike sharing system known as “Bear Bikes” at Mercer University. The organization “The College Hill Corridor” has issued a plan that incorporates more cycling along the 2-square mile corridor between Mercer University and downtown Macon. Finally, local groups have developed a biking and walking trail next to the Ocmulgee River.
“Due to its wide avenues, the center of Macon is a rather easy place to navigate for a cyclist, and the addition of more bike lanes has enhanced this. However, in general, due to our hot climate, fewer people commute to work by bicycles in the Southern U.S. But as urban renewal increases, this number will begin to rise,” predicts Christopher N. Smith.
Cycling toward a livable city
During the last decade, cycling in the U.S. has increased by 60 %. Granted, there is still a long way to go, but many U.S. cities have begun to look for alternatives to the car-based city. “Like most all American cities, Danish expertise on protected and elevated bike lanes could prove valuable to Macon’s urban planners in efforts to expand cycling,” says Christopher N. Smith.