Embassy takes part in a study tour in Copenhagen

A group of 25 UK transport professionals took part in a tour of Copenhagen’s cycling infrastructure on 8–9 May this year. Amongst them were independent consultants plus officers working for Transport for London, the London Borough of Lambeth, Bournemouth Council, and Cardiff and Birmingham City Councils. The trip was organised by Phil Jones Associates and Project Centre,  and was led by Henriette Lund, a Copenhagener now working for Transport for London, Niels Jensen, of Copenhagen Municipality, Neils Hoe, of Hoe360 Consulting, of and Lene Hartman, of Furesø Commune.

David Arditti, Cycling Embassy of Great Britain Board Member, was in the party. Embassy members had previously studied Dutch infrastructure on David Hembrow's study tour of Assen and Groningen, but this was the first time we had formally looked at the Danish model.

The first morning was spent hearing presentations at Copenhagen City Hall on the history of cycle campaigning and the development of the cycle network and associated cycle promotion programmes in the city. A subsequent ride on hired bikes took the party over a representative selection of the infrastructure in the inner city, including main road cycle tracks, greenways and filtered permeability streets. In the afternoon members of the party were free to explore the all-pervasive cycle infrastructure for themselves, and do some site-seeing in this great European capital.

On the second morning the group travelled by train with their bikes to the northern suburb of Værløse to be given a talk about how Furesø Commune is prioritising and promoting cycling, before being shown some of the local cycle routes and facilities at schools. The group then cycled the 20km on Cycle Superhighway 2 back to the centre of Copenhagen, before breaking up.

Photographs taken on the trip can be seen in this Flickr group pool. A video showing the operation of a major junction, with many cyclists using the cycle tracks and performing a two-stage left turn (equivalent to a right turn in the UK), can be seen here.

All the participants learned much on the tour, and it is to be hoped that much that was learned can be used in developing new standards for UK cycle infrastructure. As the group included personnel involved in the writing of revised cycle design standards for London, and of the standards to be associated with the Welsh Government's Active Travel Bill, there is every hope of this.

The overwhelming impression produced by this tour was similar to that produced by the Dutch one: that the generation of a truly inclusive cycling demographic, with all ages and all sectors of the population cycling in large numbers, requires a highly comprehensive network of continuous, quality, segregated cycle provision, together with supporting measures that make it easy to integrate cycling with other transport modes. To reproduce this in UK cities, starting from what we have now, will be a long task, but it is one which we must commence, if we are serious about wanting really high levels of cycling. 

Commuting on Nørrebrogade, one of the most cycled streets in the world