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Updated: 52 min 39 sec ago

Cargo Bike Logistics on Harbours and Rivers by Copenhagenize

1 July, 2015 - 18:05

Urban logistics is just one of the many challenges facing our cities. After Copenhagenize worked for three years on the European Union project Cyclelogistics, we have cargo bikes on the brain and provide cargo bike logistics as one of our services. We also live in a city with 40,000 cargo bikes in daily use. As ever, we look for solutions not only for other cities, but our own. During the Cyclelogistics project we determined that there is a massive potential for shifting goods delivery to bikes and cargo bikes. 51% of all motorised private and commercial goods transport in EU cities could be done on bicycles or cargo bikes.

Great. Let's do that. But how to do it best? Lots of small companies are already operating in cities with last-mile service for packages, which is great. DHL is rocking Dutch cities with cargo bike deliveries and UPS and FedEx are getting their game face on, too. But we need to think bigger and better.

The City of Copenhagen created the framework for the idea of setting up a consolodation centre south of the city where logistics companies could drop off their goods in their larger trucks. Last mile service could be provided by smaller vehicles so that the trucks stay the hell out of our city. The industry has been slow to pick up the baton, however.

Copenhagen's City Logistik website hasn't been updated for a while because industry is lagging behind. This film explains their basic concept:

Sådan virker Citylogistik from Citylogistik on Vimeo.

There are a lot of packages to be delivered to the citizens in cities. In the Netherlands, for example, over half of all shoes are bought online. That is a lot of shoeboxes needing to get out to the people. In Europe we speak of the Zalando effect - similar to Amazon in North America.

Last mile service by smaller vehicles is great for cities but what about the solutions that are right there under our nose? What about the most ancient of transport corridors in our cities - the rivers and harbours.

We at Copenhagenize Design Company propose having barges - electric if you like - plying the waters of Copenhagen harbour. Dropping off small goods at specially designed piers at strategic locations on the harbourfront. Secure facilities that keep the goods stored in lockers. Depots designed especially for cargo bikes to arrive and pick up goods - or drop them off - in order to deliver them to the people and businesses in the various areas and neigbourhoods.

Our urban designer Adina Visan took our idea to the visual stage. Envisioning iconic off-shore depots for urban logistics along Copenhagen Harbour - or any city with a harbour or river.

This should be the new normal for goods delivery in Copenhagen.

Depots arranged to serve the densely populated neighbourhoods on either side of the harbour.

Designed for a fleet of cargo bikes that can roll in, pick up goods in lockers, and roll out again onto the cycle tracks of the city.

What are we waiting for?Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.
Categories: Views

From Copenhagen to Geneva - Discussion on Exporting the Danish Bicycle Model

1 June, 2015 - 09:24
Bike infrastructure in Geneva. Crédit photo : Louis-Philippe Tessier. A French translation of this article follows the English text.

It's our great pleasure and honor to see numerous people, from all over the world, coming through the door of Copenhagenize's office, in order to meet us and have a chat about bicycle urbanism. For the Copenhagenize's team, it's always an opportunity to share our knowledge and experience. We explain the distinctives features of Copenhagen while learning the latest best practices from our visitors' cities. A few months ago, it's Clotilde, our French urban planner, who received Louis-Philippe Tessier, student in Environmental Sciences, who had just arrived from Geneva (Switzerland) to do fieldwork for his Master these. 
It was the opportunity to get information on the cycling culture in Geneva and to know which best-practices Louis-Phillipe could bring back to Switzerland.
(article written by Louis-Philippe and Clotilde following their discussion)

The 2015 Velo-city conference, held this year in Nantes between June 2nd and 5th, has one main objective: bringing together numerous experts on “bicycle urbanism” from across the world so as to facilitate the exchange of best practices and necessary knowledge to promote and develop urban bicycle usage. For three days, participants will also be able to let themselves be inspired and to take a breath of fresh air in a world which is often polluted by negative thoughts. But a question remains: are these transfers of knowledge even possible? Are local authorities even receptive to foreign best practices?
Louis-Philippe’s Masters thesis partly sought to explore this theme. Its main goal was to study Geneva’s cycling infrastructures and policies so as to identify a certain number of elements hindering the development of bicycle usage in this city. Ultimately, the recommendations put forward in the thesis were inspired from a number of best practices taken from Copenhagen. 

Obstacles in Geneva, solutions in CopenhagenFour obstacles were identified in Geneva:            1. A negative perception of bicycles and their users            2. Few measures aimed at restricting car usage            3. The existence of a logic of opportunity            4. The particularities of the city’s urban form

Bike lanes represent 20% of the whole bicycle network in Geneva (CH). Crédit photo : Louis-Philippe Tessier. 

Possessing numerous years of expertise in the field, Copenhagen has become a model for cities across the world wishing to promote bicycle use amongst their citizens. To each obstacles identified in Geneva, Copenhagen could provide proven solutions. 
Concerning the first one, the nordic city would promote its communication strategy aimed at reinforcing the positive aspects of cycling in cities, which is very well presented in its official Bicycle Strategy. As Stefan Gössling puts it, by reading this document one understands that cycling “is pleasurable for everyone.” (2013, p. 201). 
Responding to the second obstacle, Danish planners would suggest that it is more economically sound to replace car parking by separated bike lanes or bicycle parking spots. If one car can fit on one parking spot, there can be up to eight bicycles parked there, which represents more potential customers to nearby shops. In Geneva, a local law states that any removed car parking must be replaced in the vicinity. If one also takes into account the cost of acquiring the space needed for this new parking spot, one is left with a messy bureaucratic and political bottleneck. 
The third obstacle concerns the way urban planners develop the cycling network. Rather than drafting a concrete and detailed bicycle plan for the city, they very (too) often grab the opportunities passing under their noses. This means, on the one hand, that they need to be continuously aware of developments occurring throughout the city, but it also means that the cycling network ultimately becomes like a Swiss cheese: full of wholes. What they don’t tell you is that Swiss cheese in fact does not contain any holes;it’s just a misconception. Similarly, a good bicycle network should not have any holes. One picture of Copenhagenize’s Traffic Planning Guide II reminds us of that!

Coming back to the initial question of this article, it helps to look now at obstacle #4. When Geneva’s bicycle strategy was being voted in 2013, one deputy, who was explaining why the modal share of bicycles in Copenhagen was so high, was interrupted by voices shouting that the city was flatter than Geneva. In other words, according to them, it is not possible to transfer Copenhagen’s model because of the specific topography of the city. On one point they are right: every city is unique, facing different kinds of challenges and obliged to implement solutions adapted to the socio-politico-economic conditions. But this is not to say that planners cannot be inspired by foreign best practices. In fact, it has often been the case. Today’s cities are good examples since most of them were deeply and similarly transformed in the 50s and 60s by the automobile. Best practices can be exported to other cities as long as they respond to specific needs by local cyclists. One such example is Trondheim’s bicycle lift, which acts as an elevator helping cyclists go up a steep hill. Another one is, more generally, San Francisco’s increasing bicycle modal share, which could be attributed to the implementation of foreign best practices at certain intersections throughout the city (SFMTA, 2013, p. 6). San Francisco being a hilly city, this shows how geographical features may not have the same importance as the social, political, and economic context when developing a cycling city.

Lanes shared by cyclists and buses represent 4% of the network of bicycle infrastructure in Geneva (CH). Crédit photo : Louis-Philippe Tessier. 
Cycling urbanism and urban densityUrban density is one such element which can be very unique to cities. With environmental problems becoming more apparent, and urban populations continuously growing, many cities have began to densify. In highly dense cities such as Geneva, numerous actors often declare that few things can be done to improve transport conditions. Space scarcity is often the culprit. It is true that there are only a limited amount of users which can use a specific road. But is it more a question of space, or rather a question of which transportation mode should be prioritised in cities? Can a road lane be converted into a separated bike lane? Of course! What may vary between cities is the degree of political will to retrofit the urban landscape so as to prioritise more sustainable modes of transportation, in this case the bicycle. We are far from Copenhagen’s “Cyclists first” policy. But ultimately, as Andersen et al. declare, “all things being equal, urban density increases bicycle traffic“ (Andersen et al., 2012, p. 40). Thus, our politicians should really focus on finding adapted solutions to the urban density problem, rather than feeding the idea that their cities are not adapted to the bicycle.

This debate raises another question: is there an optimal urban density to efficiently develop safe, continuous and comfortable bicycle infrastructures?It is difficult to answer such a question since we are not only talking about technical details pertaining to physical infrastructures, but we are also addressing the ways that politics is conducted in every city. The nature of the arbitration between the actors directly and indirectly involved in the mobility system of a city, is crucial to take into consideration when on seeks to import best practices from cities such as Copenhagen. Solutions are manifold and come from various places across the world; this is one of the reason why the Velo-cityconference is such an important event for urban planners. Here are some examples taken from Copenhagen, which were contrasted to challenges still existing in Geneva (in French):

Ultimately, transferring knowledge and best practices is important but a particular focus should be put on understanding how politics is being conducted, and what elements strongly influence the planning process. Not doing so puts us at risk of being told that the city is not flat enough!

De Copenhague à Genève, discussion sur l'intérêt d'exporter le modèle cyclable danois
De nombreux visiteurs, venus du monde entier, passent la porte de nos bureaux à Copenhague, afin de venir discuter des infrastructures cyclables locales. Pour nous, à Copenhagenize Design Co., nous prenons toujours ces discussions comme un moment d'échanges et de partage de connaissances. Nous expliquons les particularités de Copenhague et nous apprenons les dernières nouvelles des politiques cyclables étrangères. Il y a quelques mois, c'est Clotilde, notre urbaniste française, qui recevait Louis-Philippe Tessier, étudiant en Sciences de l'Environnements, tout juste débarqué de Genève, pour venir faire du terrain dans le cadre de son mémoire.
Voici donc l'occasion de faire découvrir la culture cyclable de Genève et de donner une idée des « bonnes pratiques » que Louis-Philippe a rapporté dans ses bagages.

L’édition 2015 des conférences Velo-city se tiendra cette année à Nantes entre le 2 et 5 juin. L’objectif: réunir une multitude d’experts et d’adeptes du vélo afin de partager connaissances et bonnes pratiques en matière d’aménagement d’infrastructures cyclables et de promotion du vélo en milieu urbain. Outre l’occasion de côtoyer des personnes tout aussi convaincues que le vélo est un mode de transport réellement (vélo)rutionnaire, ce transfert d’informations est-il efficace et même possible ? Les autorités locales sont-elles réceptives aux pratiques “étrangères” ?
Le mémoire de maîtrise de Louis-Philippe, cherche justement à effectuer une analyse du réseau cyclable genevois et une recherche de pistes d'améliorations du développement du vélo dans cette ville, en s'inspirant du modèle copenhagois.

Des freins à Genève, des solutions à CopenhagueA Genève, il a été identifié quatre freins principaux au développement de ce mode de transport :
1. Une image négative du vélo et de ses utilisateurs2. Une faible restriction des déplacements automobiles3. L’existence d’une logique d’opportunité4. La forme urbaine particulière de la ville
Avec plusieurs décennies d’expérience en la matière, Copenhague représente un modèle à suivre pour ce qui est du développement d’une ville cyclable. Pour chaque frein identifié à Genève, des pistes intéressantes venues de la capitale danoise pourraient être explorées. 

Par exemple, face à l'image négative du vélo comme mode de transport, Copenhague mettrait en avant sa stratégie de communication positive, notamment expliquée dans le document Bicycle Strategy, laquelle explicitant le fait que rouler à vélo est “pleasurable for everyone”, tel que déclaré par Stefan Gössling (2013, p. 201). 
Face au deuxième frein, les urbanistes danois diraient qu’il est plus avantageux, économiquement, de remplacer des places de stationnement soit par des pistes cyclables séparées de la chaussée, soit par des places de stationnement pour vélos. Sur un stationnement automobile, jusqu’à huit vélos peuvent être stationnés, ce qui représente davantage d’acheteurs potentiels pour les commerces de proximité. À Genève, une loi locale oblige les autorités à compenser les places de stationnement supprimées dans un rayon restreint. Ajoutez un foncier rare et dispendieux, et vous obtenez un casse-tête bureaucratique et politique. 
Le troisième frein concerne la pratique d’aménagement des infrastructures cyclables à Genève : on utilise les opportunités qui passent, venant souvent de projets d’aménagement de grande envergure, pour faire une (petite) place aux vélos. Loin du plan structuré de Copenhague, où des objectifs clairs d’amélioration et de création de nouveaux tronçons sont déclarés, les pratiques genevoises, similaires à ce qui semble être fait dans de nombreuses villes, s’orientent vers la création de mini-tronçons ici et là. Résultat : une constellation de différentes infrastructures sur le réseau, parfois même sur un seul chemin, tel que celui des Coudriers, au nord-ouest de Genève. Où est la cohérence !
La question initiale - la transposition des infrastructures cyclables de Copenhague à d'autres villes - prend plus de sens encore lorsqu’on considère le frein n°4. Lors de l’adoption du Plan directeur cantonal de la mobilité douce en 2013, un député du Grand Conseil expliqua la forte part modale du vélo à Copenhague et se fit interrompre par des voix criant que “Là-bas c’est plat !”. Bref, on ne peut pas faire la même chose qu'à Copenhague. Toute les villes doivent conjuguer avec une topographie particulière, qui détermine les contraintes et les opportunités d’aménagement du réseau de transport. Et là aussi, en termes d'urbanisme cyclable, des solutions existent, même si cette fois-ci, évidemment, elles sont pas à trouver du côté du Danemark. L’important est de répondre au besoin des usagers. En Norvège, dans la ville de Trondheim, on trouve le CycloCable, une sorte d’ascenseur permettant aux usagers de gravir une pente particulièrement abrupte . D'autre part, à San Francisco, autre ville au relief accidenté, on a constaté ces dernières années une forte augmentation de la part modale. Il n'y a pas de déterminisme géographique car le contexte socio-politico-économique a une grande importance dans le développement d'une ville cyclable.

Urbanisme cyclable et densité Pour finir, un mot sur la densité urbaine et le vélo. L’apparition des enjeux environnementaux et l’accroissement de la population de certaines villes a fait en sorte que plusieurs d’entre elles se sont mises à densifier davantage le tissu urbain existant. Certaine ville, telle que Genève, possèdent une très forte densité urbaine que plusieurs considèrent comme un frein au développement du vélo puisque, soit disant, l’espace manquerait pour aménager des infrastructures de qualité. En effet, une route ne peut accueillir qu’un certain nombre de différents modes de transport. Mais ici, la question concerne-t-elle l’espace disponible ou plutôt l’arbitrage a effectuer entre les modes de transport ? Est ce qu’une voie de circulation ou de stationnement automobiles peut devenir une piste cyclable ? Bien sûr ! Est-ce qu’un large trottoir peut être scindé pour accueillir une voie cyclable ? Tout à fait ! Ce qui peut varier de ville en ville est le niveau de volonté politique nécessaire pour atteindre cet objectif de réaménagement en faveur des vélos. On est souvent loin du “Cyclists first !“ prôné par la municipalité danoise. Pourtant “all things being equal, urban density increases bicycle traffic“ (Andersen et al., 2012, p. 40). Il faut donc, tout de même, que nos décideurs soient capables d’utiliser pleinement le potentiel résidant au coeur d’une ville comme Genève possédant une aussi forte densité.
Bien que Copenhague ait réussi à se hisser au rang de meilleure ville cyclable au monde, il reste que la densité urbaine de la ville est inférieure à celle de Genève, ce qui a des implications pour le développement du vélo. C’est alors que l’on peut effectuer la réflexion suivante : plus qu'une taille idéale de ville, y a-t-il une densité optimale pour aménager des infrastructures cyclables sécuritaires, continues, cohérentes et confortables ?
Apporter des réponses techniques venues de pays étrangers est une vraie bonne idée qui peut permettre de faire gagner de nombreuses années d'expérimentation et d'études aux villes qui osent aller chercher des solutions qui marchent au-delà de leurs frontières. Mais pour les faire accepter faut-il encore avoir le bon discours pour les expliquer, lorsque l'on revient dans son pays, afin que les habitants et les élus les acceptent et se les approprient, en y apportant leur touche locale. En effet, l'évolution de la mobilité s'inscrit dans des contextes institutionnels, politiques, économiques, sociaux et culturels propres à chaque lieu. Les solutions existent, qu’elles viennent de Copenhague ou d'autres villes représentées prochainement à Vélo-City. Voici un récapitulatif de quelques solutions copenhagoises pour avancer dans la mise en place d'une politique cyclable :

Cette façon de penser le vélo comme moyen de transport urbain peut avoir de réels impacts positifs dans d’autres villes d’Europe ou d’ailleurs. Mais aujourd'hui, pour réaménager l’espace urbain, plus que l'analyse de la topographie, il faut surtout comprendre les éléments modelant la nature de l’arbitrage effectué par les décideurs locaux, sans quoi nous risquons de nous faire dire que la ville n’est pas suffisamment plate ! 
Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.
Categories: Views

Hacking a German "Safety" Campaign with Rationality

30 May, 2015 - 15:54

Nice with a bit of activism and rationality on a Saturday. Thanks to our reader Jochen, who sent us some photos from the streets of Germany in reaction to a campaign from the German Ministry of Transport, above. Next to a photo of Darth Vader the text reads: "The saga continues, thanks to the helmet. Works in every galaxy. And on the bicycle."

This set cyclists and activists to task.

Billboard in Bonn: "Now I'm single... thanks, helmet."
Photo: Jochen Erdelmeier

In a country where only about 10% of cyclists wear plastic hats, the Ministry of Transport decided to chuck some taxpayer money into a campaign. A lazy move from politicans whose ignorance about the importance of encouraging cycling, building infrastructure and the health benefits of a cycling population has now been broadcast to the planet. They are basically using taxpayer money to advertise how ignorant they are. There's the first problem with their campaign.

The choice of Darth Vader is as strange as it is awkward - for the Germans. World War II Nazi helmets were the direct inspiration for Vader's helmet, as you can read here:

"Costume designer John Mollo took it from there, fusing elements of various real-life uniforms associated with war and evil. To design Vader’s infamous black helmet, Mollo looked to the black, shiny headgear Nazis wore during WWII."

One might argue that Mr Vader is not exactly an appropriate role model. One of the first things his mentor, Mr Hitler, did when assuming power was make Germany's largest cyclist organisation illegal. (they were also socialists, which was handy).

The Ministry also willfully ignores the advice of the European Council of Ministers of Transport in 2004 - which included the German Minister of Transport at the time - in a report entitled National Policies to Promote Cycling:

"[...] from the point of view of restrictiveness, even the official promotion of helmets may have negative consequences for bicycle use, and that to prevent helmets having a negative effect on the use of bicycles, the best approach is to leave the promotion of helmet wear to manufacturers and shopkeepers. The report entitled 'Head Injuries and Helmet Law for Cyclists' by Dorothy L. Robinson, Bicycle Research report No. 81 (March 1997) shows that the main effect of the introduction of the general helmet law for cyclists in Australia was a drop in bicycle use."

Even research from the German Hannelore Kohl Stiftung was happily swept under the rug:

Be sure to check for more reasons why driving with a helmet is a good idea. It links to our blog articles about the subject.

Imagine. The Ministry of Transport in Europe's largest country completely and utterly Ignoring the Bull in Society's China Shop.

But hey. Shortly after appearing, billboards around Germany that featured the Darth Vader campaign began to feature added text. The Force is strong within the rational Jedi fighting for liveable cities...

The saga continues in Bonn. This billboard now reads: "I have dandruff. Thank you, helmet."
Photo: Jochen Erdelmeier

Bonn: "I am a monster. Thanks, helmet."
Photo: Jochen Erdelmeier

And from Frankfurt: "Works in every galaxy. And on stairs."
Photo: A friend of Jochen Erdelmeier

Frankfurt: "Works in every galaxy. And in the shower."
Photo: A friend of Jochen Erdelmeier

Frankfurt: "Works in every galaxy. And while doing housework."
Photo: A friend of Jochen Erdelmeier

Frankfurt: "Works in every galaxy. And in cars."
Photo: A friend of Jochen Erdelmeier

Frankfurt: "Works in every galaxy. And while walking."
Photo: A friend of Jochen Erdelmeier

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.
Categories: Views

Bike Share by the People, For the People

30 May, 2015 - 13:28

Saw a lovely thing in my neighbourhood today. Copenhagen's new bike share system. Parked right there under a tree. In contrast to the failed one still operating, this system is free, it doesn't have safety issues with a distracting tablet screen, it doesn't weigh as much as a hippopotamus, it doesn't have a noisy motor and it doesn't have constant tech issues at a docking station.

The sign on the side reads:

"Hi, my name is Christian Liljedahl and I've made this City Bike (bycykel) for Copenhagen and for you. Use it and park it somewhere useful so others can enjoy it when you're finished.

If it's flat or broken, send me a text on (telephone number) or donate a puncture repair at the closest bike shop. You can also make your own City Bike. Find out more on DinBycykel on Facebook."

This is brilliant. This made my day. In a country where 400,000 bikes are scrapped every year and The Establishment (City of Copenhagen, City of Frederiksberg, Danish Railways, Danish Cyclists Federation) all insist on lame solutions like the GoBike ($10,000 per bike), People Power is fantastic.

More of this, please.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.
Categories: Views

The Desire Lines of Cyclists – The Global Study – is in the starting block

27 May, 2015 - 14:11

Copenhagenize Design Co. has decided to take our unique Desire Lines Analysis Tool to the world. We are launching a new project that will span continents.
The Desire Lines of Cyclists – The Global Study – is the natural evolution of our original Desire Lines analysis of cyclist behaviour and how cyclists react to urban design called The Choreography of an Urban Intersection. The results of which were unveiled by CEO Mikael Colville-Andersen at Velo-City 2013 in Vienna. This study from Copenhagen in 2012 was based on video-recorded observations of 16,631 cyclists during a 12 hour period. We explored the anthropological details of bicycle users and how they interact with other traffic users and the existing urban design. Three categories of cyclists were identified: Conformists, Momentumists, and Recklists.

Choreography of an Urban Intersection and Copenhagenize fixes

Thanks to this study we created a new methodology to analyse urban life: the Desire Line Analysis Tool, which is designed mostly to decode the Desire Lines of cyclists. The main purposes of the analysis is to get a thorough understanding of bicycle users and to rethink intersections to fit modern mobility needs. Like William H. Whyte before us, we want first to observe people. We employ anthropology and sociology directly to urban planning - something we feel is sorely lacking.
With increasing focus on re-establishing the bicycle as transport in cities around the world, understanding the behaviour and, indeed, the basic urban anthropology of bicycle users is of utmost importance. Rethinking the car-centric design of intersections and infrastructure is necessary if we are to redesign our cities for new century mobility patterns.

Desire Lines of cyclists turned into a permanent lane in Copenhagen

Until now there has not been any concrete way of mapping cyclist behaviour. Copenhagenize Design Company’s techniques utilise Direct Human Observation in order to map cyclist behaviour - and gather a motherlode of valuable data from it.
These two last years at Copenhagenize, urban planners, anthropologists and urban designers have worked on testing, improving and realising new studies in Copenhagen. Using the city as an actual-size laboratory, we observed, analysed, mapped thousands of cyclists' behavior. You can watch our video here, and read our studies here, here, here, here, and here.
Afterwards, we went to Amsterdam, a city considered as a model for many urban planners, and in  collaboration with The University of Amsterdam, Copenhagenize Design Co. worked on nine intersections and 19,500 bicycle users.

Cyclists riding side by side in Amsterdam

Now, we want to expand our proven methodology to other cities around the world and compare different approaches of bicycle urbanism focusing on the way cyclists react to urban design. This study will take us to Europe, South and North America, Asia and Africa.
Cycling is booming everywhere in the world and municipalities are investing in infrastructure across many cities. Nevertheless, data are lacking and a deep understanding of cyclists' behavior and expectations is required. It’s the right moment to get a thorough understanding of the current situation and avoid well known hurdles in the design of infrastructure to match cyclists expectations.
We will start this global study in the two world-wide bicycle friendly cities, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, and use them as references of the study.
Then, we will study intersections in Cape Town (South Africa), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Mexico City (Mexico).
Finally, we will analyse bicycle users crossing an intersection in New York City (US), Paris (France) and Tokyo (Japan). 3 metropolis, 3 different ways to design urban infrastructure and to manage cycling policy.

Cyclist on a Vélib in Paris sharing the lane with buses

We will compare all these cyclists and figure out the balance between the behaviour due to varying infrastructure - or lack thereof - and the bicycle culture/habits of the inhabitants. We’ll highlight both the cultural differences and the universality of human behaviour. We truly believe that well-designed infrastructure leads to better behaviour from cyclists - whereas the lack of consideration for cyclists when municipalities design bike infrastructure leads to negative behaviour.
In each city we will team up with a local partner, and we are extremely glad to announce that we will work with the organisations Future Cape Town, ITDP Brazil and 3x3 in New York City.
Copenhagenize is also keen on working in close cooperation with the local authorities and has already get the support of the municipalities of Paris and Amsterdam. Our local partners and us are searching for financial support to make the most of the project in each city.
The more data and knowledge that will be gathered on cyclists, the higher the chances are that towns will be turned into bike-friendly cities with all the right infrastructure.
The results will be presented using maps, statistics, qualitative analyses and appealing graphic representations. We will reveal how people respect or disrespect infrastructure, how they interact with pedestrians and motorists, what are their normal trajectories and Desire Lines. All bicycle-friendly cities should have a perfect knowledge of the evolution of the number of cyclists, but also a sociological big picture of them and a deep understanding of their behavior. 

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.
Categories: Views

Lego and Bicycles - Together Forever

7 May, 2015 - 16:46

When you live in a home with over 20 kg of Lego, using it comes naturally. I noticed five years ago that I didn't have a lot of Lego bicycles. I soon discovered that they are rather hard to come by, despite the fact that Lego is, of course, Danish. In America, for example, the quickest way to get a Lego bicycle is buy the ambulance set. Seriously. Selling fear of cycling in a Lego box.

But back in 2011 I wanted to do a rendition of the Copenhagen rush hour in Lego bicycles. I stripmined eBay in four countries buying bikes and mini-figures that resembled normal people. Finally, shot a series of photos like the one up top.

My inspiration also had a root at the Legoland theme park. I spotted this cyclist, above, from the age before the mini figure, which makes them awesome. From the age before rubber tires and asphalt, too, it would seem - so even more respect.

Looking around the internet I discovered that there are/were sets that featured Lego bicycles, as you can see above. Then, of coursre, I discovered a nerdy website listing all Lego sets with bicycles in them. Ever.

Here are some photos from the original Lego rush hour shoot back in May 2011:

I tried to get all sorts of different people represented. Workers, doctors, parents, you name it.

Late last year I did another shoot, featuring more bicycles and style of citizens.

Finally managed to get a cargo bike built.

At Copenhagenize Design Co. we make holiday cards with mini-figures featuring ourselves in Lego. That's me in the middle.

What else can I pull out of the archives? Cycling home with Lego containers for storing... Lego? Check. And a photo from Sandra at Classic Copenhagen featuring Godzilla-sized cyclists at the Lego flagship store in Copenhagen.

Lego and urbanism? You bet. A few years ago the Danish Architecture Center (DAC) had Lego on tables on the City Hall Square and Felix and I hung around for ages constructing buildings. We always show up at DAC when they do Lego events.

Felix and I also addressed a bit of urban decay with a Lego-based urban infill solution across the street from our house.

When speaking in San Francisco back in 2009 I rode in the Halloween Critical Mass and met this fabulous local with her home-made Lego accessories. Wasn't a fan of the critical mass thing, though.

No bikes here, but Felix and I made this chess set years ago and it is still used. The most Danish thing I know.

Lego can be used in many ways. The Danish version of the morons on the left are right here. You have your version, I'm sure.

But hey. Lego ain't going anywhere. Bicycles ain't going anywhere. I'm going to keep on combining the two.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.
Categories: Views

The Best Bike Story This Week

5 May, 2015 - 09:42

Yesterday I took back ownership of my own Bullitt cargo bike, when The Lulu and I picked it up at Larry vs Harry. You might have heard it was stolen back in March. After a week or so, I resigned myself to never seeing it again. I lived in hope, because another time it was stolen, the Danish internet helped me get it back.

On Sunday evening, I got this photo sent via MMS and on Facebook. WTF. My bike parked outside Larry vs Harry. It was found at Christiania by a guy named Danni and taken from there and put outside Larry vs Harry. An amazing story. I called Danni and he was all like "no problem...".

I got the details of the story yesterday when we picked it up from Claus. And it is amazing.

I realised I know Danni. I chat with him every year at the Svajerløb - Danish Cargo Bike Championships and I chatted with him at the recent bike flea market. Ironically, about whether or not I had found my Bullitt.

Danni's own Bullitt is well-known here. He extended the frame to make it extra long. This shot is from the flea market a few weeks back. He has a kid around the same age as The Lulu, too.

So it turns out Danni was out for a ride on his motorcycle and ended up at Christiania. He saw three Bullitts behind the Månefiskeren café and he recognised one of them. Mine. Still with the map of Copenhagen on the cargo bay and even the Copenhagenize Design Co. logo sticker intact.

Danni rode his motorbike home to Hvidovre - a suburb of Copenhagen - and returned with his minivan. He put my Bullitt in the back and went to a bike shop to buy a lock. He then drove it to Larry vs Harry and locked it outside the shop. He let Claus from Larry vs Harry know it was there and he, in turn, notified me.

How amazing is that. 30 km and a couple of hours out of his day. Just to get the Bullitt back for The Lulu and I.

I'm speechless. Grateful. Amazed.

Thanks Danni. The Lulu is making him a drawing and I'll figure out a suitable gift.Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.
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Felix and the Danish Cyclist Test

23 April, 2015 - 16:19

My son Felix on the course of today's cyclist test for 6th graders in Denmark, in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen.

Today was a fun day in my son Felix' young life. Together with the other 6th grade students at La Cour Vej School, he took part in the Danish "cyklistprøve" - or Cyclist Test.

The test has been around since 1947. It's not mandatory but many schools choose to do it. When kids are in the 1st grade they get a week of initial cyclist "how-to" regarding rules of the road, etc. Then, in 6th grade, they rock the test like today. In my opinion, the test is great but it's also rather symbolic. Most of these kids have been cycling in the city since they were little. Felix has rocked the cycle tracks since he was three and a half. Parents teach them the rules and, most important, give them the practice they need. By the time they get to the 6th grade, the majority have a great deal of on-asphalt experience on their bicycles. Our school chooses to make passing the test a pre-requisite for going on outings by bike when they get older.

Today's test almost didn't happen. The police are involved, as a rule, but because of the Copenhagen shootings earlier this year, they say they don't have the resources. They put a lot of resources into investigating and rounding up other potential terrorists, sure. But they have also spent a pile of money on positioning policemen armed with heavy weapons around the city. A symbolic gesture to "make us feel safe". An expensive, symbolic gesture that had little effect on Copenhageners. Right THERE, they could have saved some money and still helped do the cyclist test.

Normally, the police are on hand for the test. They check the bikes to make sure they are legal and spend the morning with the students. Today it was different

Some schools, however, took matters into their own hands. The principal of La Cour Vej School, where both my kids attend, said today that they chose to find the resources in THEIR budget to do the test anyway, because it is very important for the kids and for traffic safety that they take the test. So, at 7:40 this morning, me and five other parents showed up and were handed clipboards with the grading sheets. We each chose one of six posts to stand at and off we went. I had a sunny bench at the roundabout outside the school when the kids were on the home stretch.

There are four 6th grade classes at the school and each class took it in turn. They are sent off alone in 2-3 minute intervals on a 4.4 km ride through our neighbourhood. They each wear an orange vest with a number on both sides so that we can recognise them and mark them accordingly. Here's the route:

The route has a bit of everything. All forms of bicycle infrastructure, all levels of volume. Busy streets, quiet residential streets and lots of turns. Earlier this week the kids had a theory test and they all walked the route with their teacher.

The kids start off with 300 points and each mistake subtracts from that. Here's the list.

Didn't shoulder check before a turn: -30 points
Didn't shoulder check before a stop: -30
Didn't shoulder check before positioning themselves in the right spot on the cycle track: -30

Forgot to signal a turn: -30
Didn't signal a turn in good time: -30
Forgot to signal a stop: -30
Didn't signal a stop in good time: -30

Giving Way (Depending on situation)
Did not give way: -30
Forgot to give way to others in same direction: -30
Forgot to give way to others in opposite direction: -30
Forgot to yield to pedestrians: -30

Wrong placement before a turn: -30
(ie: On left side of cycle track but turning right. Wrong placement when turning left in a box turn)
Didn't use the cycle track: -30
Rode on the sidewalk: -30
Rode in the pedestrian crossing: -30

Traffic Lights/Signage
Ran a red light: Disqualified
Rode through a yellow light: -30
Didn't see a traffic sign: -10

Rode too fast: -10
(Silly rule and hard to gauge. Bikes have to follow the posted speed limit)
Rode too insecurely: -10
Rode with other students during test: -10
(Kind of like cheating. The test is also about orientation in the city)
Walked the bike: -10
Didn't pass the monitoring post: -75
Other mistakes: -30

Here was my monitoring post:

I had to watch them enter the roundabout and exit it again. Checking them for shoulder checks, giving way, signalling.

So after spending four hours on a street corner waiting for over eighty 12 and 13 year olds to pass, how did it go? I was impressed. They rocked it. The vast majority rode like a boss, with confidence despite the nervosity of performing a test and trying to get everything right. Like I said, most of these kids have been cycling in the city for years so it wasn't really a stretch for them. Merely a fun refresher course.

Some were less confident on the bike, but none were perilous in their cycling. One poor kid got totally lost on the route and ended up in the Nørrebro neighbourhood. He wasn't in school on the day the kids walked the route and even though he had a map he still got a longer bike ride than he expected. Some kids bunched up a bit, even though they weren't supposed to. The 2-3 minute interval was generally good at spreading them out so they were on their own, finding their way on the urban landscape.

I haven't seen the final results but when us six parents met up afterwards we had a chat. There were few dramas out there. Another day in a bicycle-friendly city. I can't see how any of the kids would fail the test, apart from the kid who got lost. I hope he gets another shot at it.

Normally, when the police are involved, if a kid fails they send a letter to the parents informing them that their kid needs some more practice.

Regarding my kid, Felix, I had informed him beforehand that as MY son, I would tease him until the end of time if he failed. He didn't and I knew he wouldn't.

You can, however, see how the Culture of Fear has influenced things even here in Denmark. In the emails leading up to the day it was stated that helmets had to be worn. I informed the teacher responsible that Felix doesn't wear a helmet and a longer discussion ensued. It's clear that the Danish Road Safety Council have influenced a lot of people with their wacko ideology. I was informed that the school's traffic policy requires helmets. I looked it up - it doesn't. They merely "urge" students to wear them. I was told he could borrow a helmet. I asked if they were washed and disinfected. They weren't.

Then I was told it wasn't up to the school but that I would have to talk to the Danish Road Safety Council or the police. I responded that the Road Safety Council is just an NGO and has no power and the police merely refer to the Danish traffic law which doesn't require helmets. At the end of the day I was told I could sign a form exempting Felix from wearing a helmet. Fine. Except there is no form and Felix just did as he pleased.

This is not America, but sometimes you wonder if it is. The battle for rationality and respect for science continues.

The main takeaway for me today was seeing eighty kids riding like bosses. Owning it. Rocking the old cycling test and having fun doing it. Cheering their fellow students when they left the start area. Cheering when they got back. It was awesome. Felix is totally pre-teen at the moment but he was clearly proud to complete the test. And I'm a proud dad.

Next up is The Lulu. She's in 1st grade but she already owns it. She'll be awesome, too, by the time the test comes around in five years.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.
Categories: Views

7550 New Bike Parking Spots at Copenhagen Central Station

10 April, 2015 - 13:13
For all of Copenhagen's badass mainstream bicycle culture, there remains one thing that the City still completely sucks at. Bicycle parking at train stations. At Copenhagen Central Station there are only about 1000 bike parking spots. Danish State Railways can't even tell us how many spots they have. They're not sure.

Even in Basel they have 800+. In Antwerp they have this. Don't even get me started on the Dutch. 12,500 bike parking spots are on the way in some place called Utrecht. Amsterdam has a multi-story bike parking facility, floating bicycle barges round the back and are planning 7000 more spots underwater.

Even at the nation's busiest train station, Nørreport, the recent and fancy redesign failed miserably in providing parking that is adequate for the demand. Architects once again failing to respond to actual urban needs.

It is time to remedy that. Here is Copenhagenize Design Company's design for 7550 bike parking spots behind Copenhagen Central Station. Steve C. Montebello is the architect that I worked closely with.

By exploting the area over the train tracks and using Tietgens Bridge as the transport spine, we have created an iconic bicycle parking facility with ample parking spots at this important transport hub where trains, buses and - in 2019 - the Metro converge in an intermodal transport orgy.

In our work on the EU project - Bike Train Bike - we have been focused on parking solutions at train stations. It was a natural evolution to use that experience in developing this project.
The structure is supported by columns and utilises the existing platforms below, which dictated the shape that we decided upon.
Here is the view of the area as it is today.
There are four on/off ramps from Tietgens Bridge for ease-of-access.
A secure bicycle parking facility will house 640 bikes.
We used 3D models of bike racks courtesy of our colleagues at the Dutch company Falco. They know a thing or two about bike racks.
There will be a space for a bike shop for repairs and maintenence located at the entrance, next to ticket machines and displays featuring departures and arrivals for trains and buses.
The parking with have signs with areas divided up alphabetically, so you can find your bike again.
There is access to the three platforms below by stairs that will, of course, have bike ramps. Duh.

This facility will right so many wrongs and will thrust Copenhagen into the 21st century regarding bicycle parking at train stations. If we are  to maintain the momentum of a blossoming bicycle-friendly city, we need to up our game regarding parking.Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.
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