Copenhagen bike highway system expected to save $60 million per year in health care alonePosted on Thursday, September 6th, 2012
With people in Copenhagen already riding a combined 750,000 miles each day, a new “cycling superhighway” that plans to link the city’s surrounding suburbs is expected to get another 15,000 people out of their cars and onto bikes for their daily commute.
The 26 new interconnected bike paths will offer riders direct routes in and out of the city. As one city official told a reporter from NPR, “It will be very fast for people who use their bike. This is new because traditionally cycle paths have been placed where there is space for them and the cars didn’t run. So now the bike is going to challenge the car.”
Over one-third of the city’s population currently commutes to work or school by bike, but the new cycling highway aims to make the already bike-friendly city even better.
The city is testing new “green wave” technology that allows riders traveling at an optimal speed to traverse the entire route without getting stuck at a stop light. Additionally, footrests with bars to lean on have been placed at intersections and bike pumps are available every mile.
Thanks to a bipartisan effort from both right wing and left wing politicians, Copenhagen’s new highway marks a coordinated effort between local governments to improve service to the over 600,000 people who cycle at least once a week. Plus, the new highway will bring increased access to riders who might currently have inconvenient routes or no existing bike paths at all.
Thanks to increased accessibility (and activity) for suburban cyclists, it’s estimated that the bike paths may actually save the city $60 million each year in health care alone. Compounded with the fact that it’s about 2000 times cheaper to build one kilometer of bike path than a kilometer of road, Copenhagen’s new initiative seems to be a winning idea across the board.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/16nine/3800816936/