Did London Beat Copenhagen

Someone on a cycling forum posted a link to this website which boasts about a new cycling facility in Copenhagen for cyclists who stop at red lights.

Leave it to Copenhagen. While other bike geeks fight over guerilla-painted bike lanes, or shine them on the street with laser gadgets, or dream of floating them in mid-air, the City of Copenhagen and the bike advocacy group ibikecph installs a simple, low-tech fix that makes riding in the famously bike-friendly city even easier.

In the picture above is what i’m calling the cyclists balance beam. It’s being put in by a company to help cyclists get going after being stopped at a red light. It means you can stay in the saddle and move away quicker.

London had these years ago. Back then we called them railings and their primary design was to protect pedestrians at crossings. They went all the way around crossings apart from where you could cross. They had a few issues, it kept pedestrians in and meant they had to cross at specific locations, drivers felt because pedestrians where not going to be running free they could drive faster and cyclists got crushed up against them!

Cyclists in London have been using these railings to balance on whilst stopped at red lights. Although we didn’t have the bottom section for our feet, we managed alright with just our arms holding us up 🙂

But over the past few years the London councils have been removing these. And it’s because of the reasons above. Major Boris Johnson wants to make the streets and roads a nicer placer to be, by making pedestrians feel more open to the environment and vehicles slowing down (year right) and hopefully less deaths from cyclists being trapped between the railings and vehicles.

These will only work for safety reasons at segregated cycling facilities. Copenhagen I hope you are listening, the UK did this first 😛

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5 thoughts on “Did London Beat Copenhagen

  1. On balance, I think I’d rather be ‘taking the lane’ (whether at the head of the queue, or behind several vehicles) and therefore too far away for a railing to be any good, and suffer a little wobble when starting off.

    • Without a doubt. It works for them as they have segregated cycling facilities in most places and don’t have to worry about taking the lane.

  2. More people live in Central London than the whole of Denmark and according to wikipedia 36% of Copenhagen citizens cycle to work – maybe it will work for them because the city and country is not as populous and busy.

    • And due to that high volume of cycling, they have dedicated and seperate cycling spaces. It makes it easier to install things like these because you are unlikely to have a conflict with a vehicle. For us on the other hand, things like this actualy causes death or injury 😦

  3. Aww I wish I noticed these rails while I was there, I would have given them a shot! I probably saw one and thought it was just another pedestrian fence.

    Although there were masses of cyclists during my CPH visit, there were also plenty of cars; Hand Christian Andersen Blvd, a street through the city centre, has six motor vehicle lanes and during commute times they filled right up and for the peak commuting time, car traffic even backed up onto the bridges leading to the city centre, so it’s not like they have a car-free city that has easy space for bike lanes; the two wide cycling lanes on HCA Blvd could have been additional motor vehicle lanes for a total of 8 lanes, and there is easily enough latent motor vehicle demand that they would have filled right up with cars. But the city has made a decision to not automatically hand over 100% of the road space to motor vehicle use and to accommodate cycling as well. London and the UK in general could do this with some safe cycling routes right through city centres; there are plenty of roads already dedicated to moving of high volumes of motor vehicles through the city, a simple network of safe routes for cycling does not sound like too much to ask!

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