HOW TO MAKE A CYCLING CITY
Take a lesson from Holland and Denmark, world leaders in cyclist-friendly cities
In the 1960s, when us Brits had given up on cycling, the Dutch and the Danish were busily building cities for cyclists, and doing it pretty well. Some of the innovations since then have been eye-catching.
In Copenhagen, for example, town planners employ a sophisticated ‘Green Wave’. On certain bike paths, lights along the edge of the road switch from red to green at a pace of 20kmh. When that wave of green hits a traffic light it turns green too. That means that if you stick at the intended pace of 20kmh you’ll remain within the visible green wave, and never have to stop at a red light.
In the Netherlands, cycle networks are designed to be as efficient as possible. The Dutch aim for a cycle route between two places to be no more than 1.2 times the distance as the crow flies. If a planned cycle route turns out to be more than 1.4 times the direct distance, they search for a better route.
Online mapping systems are also available to plot a route between any two places entirely within the cycle network. Unsurprisingly, nearly 40% of the Dutch population cycles on a daily basis.