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Making our communities bike friendly: the Black Rock City & Copenhagen models

October 2, 2009

commuter routes in Copenhagen

Did you know that almost 50,000 people a day ride bikes for one week in Black Rock City? And that most of those people ride bikes exclusively for their form of transportation from the time they arrive until the time they leave a week or so later? Yep. How do they do it? Easy–cars are banned from the streets of the city. To get around, people have to walk, ride a bike (there’s thousands they can borrow), or grab public transportation (aka ArtCars).

Did you know that 500,000 people a day commute by bike in Copenhagen? That’s a half million people–riding bikes!

How can we promote, create, fund this radical act, this Copenhagenization, this Black Rock City approach, in the United States–in our cities and communities?

That’s a big question, and one which this site, Copenhagencyclechic, is devoted to exploring how to Copenhagenize the world. And it seems like this coming year at Burning Man, as we explore the theme of Metropolis, we will all learn ideas of how to get around in these cities we have grown.

One obvious way is to create commuter routes like you see on the map of Copenhagen on the left. If we can spend millions of dollars on highways to move individuals in cars, why can’t we spend a much much smaller amount of money to facilitate the safe travel of people on bikes?

If we spent just a fraction of the amount of money that we do on vehicle infrastructure needs on alternative transportation needs, we’d be able to get around more safely and reduce our carbon footprints. We’d be a lot healthier and a lot happier. OK I admit don’t have research on that one at hand–except that I know I feel happier when I commute by bike and it seems like my fellow cyclists are also a very jolly group of people!

Tonight, instead of going on the Mustache Ride here in Ventucky (meet at the Promenade at 530), I’ll be driving down to LA to learn more about how we can create this change in our communities when David Byrne and local bicycle activists convene for a lecture as part of the LA County’s ALOUD series. I understand there’s still tickets available.  And if there’s wireless, you know me, I’ll do my best to live blog it for you.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2010 2:07 am

    It seems like the concentric ring/spoke structure emerges as the most efficient way of bridging random points A with any point B. Would you agree? AP

  2. September 8, 2010 2:33 am

    Excellent observation, Adrienne! Wouldn’t we just love to see somethin like this around here!

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