What can you learn from the Danish cycle cities?

| September 12, 2018

Photo: Danish Cyclists’ Federation/Marie Hald.

“I asked one of the presenters about how they decide where to put separated bicycle lanes in Copenhagen. […] ‘Well, we just put it on every major street.’ Now, that’s my answer as well!”

Seeing is believing
A steady flow of politicians, urban planners, engineers and NGO’s from all over the world come to Denmark to study the Danish bicycle culture for one or more days. But what is really the value of making the journey?

We talked to Melinda Hanson from the organization NACTO-GDCI (National Association of City Transportation Officials – Global Designing Cities Initiative) who participated in the Cycling Embassy of Denmark’s Bikeable City Masterclass in May 2018.

Asked how her learning from the masterclass can help qualify the bicycle initiatives she is working on at home, she puts is quite plainly:

“We’re working with the city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to plan for a comprehensive bicycle network. It’s much easier to make the case for cycling as a real transportation option for all ages, abilities, and socioeconomic groups after seeing it work in Copenhagen.”

Translating Danish solutions to a foreign context

After an intense 5-day program covering Copenhagen and Odense, Melinda Hanson and her three NACTO team mates were ready to start adapting and applying some of their new tools at home:

“The class highlighted the importance of having bike infrastructure and/or traffic calming features on every street, creating a comprehensive cycling network,” says Hanson and continues:

“Our team is also working on a new design guidance publication called Streets for Kids, which focuses on the power of design to make cities better for children. The “traffic playground” in Copenhagen and the cycle-to-school culture in Odense are powerful case-studies that we’re looking to incorporate and promote as inspirational examples for other cities to follow.”

A bicycle culture starts with the children

Asked how she thinks other cities/organisations, in general, can learn from the Danish cities in terms of how you develop and sustain a strong bicycle culture, she said

“The course underscored the importance of getting people comfortable with city riding at a young age. It was amazing to see the traffic playground and cycle games played by children during recess–both are great examples of how to develop skills to strengthen confidence and promote safe riding.

The Cycling Embassy offers a list of services whether you are for only one or several says. Read more about our services here.

Read more about upcoming masterclasses here.

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Category: Events with the Participation of the Cycling Embassy

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