In a bid to further encourage commuting, the Danish government is set to build ‘bicycle motorways’ with three lanes in each direction. The plan is for several hundred kilometres of new bike paths to serve large cities such as Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg.
Bicycle superhighways already exist in Denmark – some of the motorways into Copenhagen have wide, high-quality bike paths running parallel to them – but these new ones are to run along city streets on the most direct routes possible from suburb to centre.
Construction is already underway in Copenhagen and Aarhus. The new provision is aimed at cyclists living 7-15km from the city centre, with the intention of encouraging more people to cycle in from further out in the urban sprawl.
Danish local authorities will also be allowed to introduce by-laws that allow cyclists to turn right at red traffic lights. The Copenhagen councillor for the Department of Transport has said he will ask his staff to compile a list of places where, with a few adjustments, this can be implemented.
Lise Bjørg Pedersen, of the Danish Cyclists’ Association, said: "Cyclists feel the same way as drivers do – they'd like motorways, and they hate having to stop for red lights!" She believes the new 'motorways' could double the number of people who cycle to and from work in Denmark from three percent of the population to six percent.
The new superhighways will have service stations along the way where you can get your tyres pumped up, pick up water and see traffic information, along with Green Wave traffic lights – cycle at 20km per hour, or whatever speed the system’s set for, and there won't be any red lights to slow your progress.
Standardised signage and, in places, underpasses under the larger main roads are also expected to feature. In Aarhus, at least, there may well be a facility for people arriving by car on the Djurlands motorway to park and do the last 10km on their bike.
Bike commuting is already common in Copenhagen. Now authorities want to encourage people living further from the centre to ride in, too