Our Streetfilm from 2010 documented the experience of North American transportation officials and advocates in Copenhagen during the latest Velo-City conference.
San Francisco doesn’t have to “reinvent the wheel” to become a bike-friendly place — the city need look no further than peers like Copenhagen, widely considered one of the world’s best cycling cities.
So said David Chiu, president of the SF Board of Supervisors, at a forum yesterday evening with the chief of Copenhagen’s Bicycle Program, Andreas Røhl. “We know what needs to get done,” said Chiu. “The answers are there — from segregated cycle tracks, to bike signaling, to more bike parking, to more bike safety, to bike anti-theft measures, to more bike education — these are the pillars of what have worked in other cities.”
Since Copenhagen’s political leadership began implementing measures like physically protected bike lanes and traffic-calmed streets in the 1970s, the amount of bicycling has steadily increased, and today it accounts for 36 percent of work trips in the metro area (and 50 percent within the city proper). Bicycling to virtually any destination is now so safe and convenient, the average citizen does it without thinking twice.
To reach that point, Copenhagen’s leaders overcame many of the same barriers that San Francisco currently faces. Most importantly, they mustered the political will to remove traffic lanes and car parking to make way for safe bike lanes, and they made bike infrastructure a funding priority.
To make bicycling easy and comfortable enough for everyone, said Røhl, a city must provide continuous, safe bicycling conditions on every route — “From point A to point B, even where it hurts.”