Copenhagen hasn't always been wall-to-wall bikes. Its first purpose-built, segregated cycle path was created only 25 years ago. Colville-Andersen says the city's bike culture was built almost from scratch. There was a political will to make it happen, funds were allocated. Funds are still allocated. "We're not bike-friendly because it's a flat city. We ride lots because of visionary political decisions."Seems that Britain, in regard to bikes, like the US in regard to high-speed rail, feels it must reinvent the wheel rather follow well-established and highly-successful models that had the misfortune to be developed by Someone Else.
These political decisions were unpopular at the time. Now Danes can't remember a time before mass bicycle culture. Cycle use in Copenhagen is 36% (the UK average is 2%). City officials want to see this rise to 50% by 2015, when it is hoped the city will become the world's environmental capital. To reach this target, Copenhagen is closing major thoroughfares to cars, creating bike motorways in their place. Thirty thousand bikes a day, and only 15,000 cars, use Nørrebro Street, making it a prime candidate for closure to cars.
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