I had heard from friends who studied abroad in Copenhagen that traveling by bike is “the only way to see the city,” but I was totally unprepared for the number of bikes that they have here. The bike lanes are serious—clearly marked, and if a pedestrian dares to step out when the crosswalk is flashing red, there is no stopping on the bike’s part. And the flow of traffic by the bikes is continuous: I would guesstimate that there is about one bike for every two cars on the road, or maybe in all actuality the percentage is even higher and I just don’t realize it because bikes are so much smaller than cars and take up less room on the road. Whatever the case, it is amazing that in such a cold, dreary climate there are so many people willing—and somehow appear to actually enjoy—to ride around in the cold, adorned in mittens, scarves and hats, with any sort of belongings or groceries stowed away in the wicker baskets attached to the front.
What might be even more amazing to me is that virtually no one locks their bike here: I would say the rate of bikes with locks is probably less than 20 percent. Which makes economical sense, to some extent—if everyone already has a bike, there is high supply and therefore very low demand, so not only the cost of new bikes from a store is low, but also those that are hocked on the black market. Why steal a bike if you already have one yourself and you have no one to sell it to?
Read more about the how public transportation promotes green initiatives in Copenhagen at my blog for the Detroit Free Press!