Tag Archives: first impressions

Australian bicycle expert’s experience riding in Copenhagen

Dr Jennifer Bonham (www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/jennifer.bonham), Senior Lecturerin the Geographical and Environmental Studies department at the University ofAdelaide visited us at the University of Copenhagen to hear more about ourbikeability project. She is currently undertaking research into Active Traveland is using different theoretical approaches to explore cyclists and thecity as a context for cycling. These projects include: intra-urbandifferences in cycling; explorations of the social, emotional and physicalcontent of women returning to cycling; and the cycling subject incontemporary discourses on transport, health and environment. I gave her sometips on where and how to bike while she was here. Here are her comments fromher bike ride in Copenhagen:

I think a few key instructions from someone with local knowledge (!!) helpeda lot. I couldn’t go too fast because most of the time i didn’t know where Iwas going! But keeping to the right made sure I didn’t upset too many people- as they passed me like I was standing still (even the elderly folk!!).Mostly it was easy to work out what to do … even for someone coming from a’left hand drive’ country. When all else failed I just got off and walked!!Road markings are generally very good and, like in the Netherlands, the bikelines are clearly marked up to and through intersections. In Australia, bikelanes vanish on approach to an intersection and start up again some distancepast the intersection (if you make it that far).

I was pleasantly surprised by the patience of many motorists – but there arestill a lot of them and they are generously accommodated. Norrebrogade was aninteresting experience on a bike. I had walked down it one evening thinkingit was a crazy street with everyone seemingly going everywhere, but when Irode along it at an even busier time of the day i was surprised with howsmoothly it worked. I like the fact that more space is being taken over forbike traffic too!! I’m not a fan of cycleways but I had to try the green cycleroutes to see if I could be converted. Afraid not, like many cycle routes, Ifelt like I was on a forced scenic tour (curved paths for the sake of it)!!

The other thing I noted was the variety of bikes here in Copenhagen. In theNetherlands the bikes are overwhelmingly upright townbikes, whereas in Denmarkthere seems to be a lot more road bikes and hybrids – perhaps the lighter bikeshelp deal with the punishing winds!!

Bicycling in Copenhagen is an affirming experience! It offers some goodexamples of how bikes can be accommodated on the streets of many other cities.

Thanks for the comments and for the visit. Looking forward to seeing youagain soon either here or in Adelaide!