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« Is there anything a bicycle can't do? | Main | Boys and Their Toys »

March 04, 2009


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Paul DeMaio

According to the Copenhagen Cycle Account 2006, "When the City of Copenhagen builds a new cycle track on a road section, the result is that the number of cyclists grows by around 20% and the number of cars drops by around 10%. Cycle tracks also increase cyclist safety and cyclist sense of safety. This is one of the main results of a study carried out by Trafitec consultancy for the City of Copenhagen in 2006.

"The study unfortunately also showed that cycle lane safety is poor. Consequently this cheap alternative to traditional cycle tracks will be used more cautiously in the future.

"The study’s findings bear out the theory that cycle tracks tend to increase the number of accidents at intersections. Efforts will therefore be made to design intersections with a focus on safety" (p.11).

Copenhagen, which is one of the most cycle-friendly cities in the world, has 332 km of cycle tracks and only 17 km of cycle lanes. With 1,150,000 km cycled daily, it appears that cycle tracks are the preferred model of bike infrastructure by Copenhageners due to this remarkable usage.

Between 1995 and 2006, the Copenhagen Cycle Account reports that casualties at intersections has decreased from 81 in 1995 to 33 in 2006. As cycling becomes safer with more cyclists on the street, a portion of this decrease in casualties could be attributed to the increase in cyclists, which studies have shown to increase overall safety. Another portion could be attributed to the addition of more km of cycle tracks, which increases bike traffic by 20%.

In summary, cycle tracks aren't a panacea to all crashes, but they do create a safer environment for all cyclists regardless of age or ability, encourage more cycling, and decrease serious injury.

Source: Copenhagen Cycle Account 2006 (

Allen Muchnick

The most important information from Rohl's presentation was that bicycling was more than twice as prevalent as today in the early 1950s, when very few bikeways existed. Clearly, many factors other than the presence or absence of separated bikeways are primarily responsible for the amount of bicycling.

In fact, the main purpose of Copenhagen's bikeways is to keep bicyclists from delaying motorists. Compared to transportation bicycling in the Washington area, bicycle trips in Copenhagen are much shorter and slower.

J Price

Excellent information Paul!

Also, I have some unconfirmed reports about a new transportation authorization proposal from Congressmen Bluemenauer and friends called: CLEAN-TEA (AKA HR 1329) Here is a link:

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