Copenhagen is largely flat and small; Seattle is hilly and large.
That said, we could do more with bikes if we took them seriously.

Btw, Seattle is building a ped-bike bridge across I-5 at about N 100th. Check it out. We'll see if it works.
Copenhagen density: 18,000 people per square mile.
Seattle? 8,000.

So yeah. How many bikes are there in other cities with 8,000 people/mile?
Copenhagen also has wider flat streets to accommodate bike lanes without bikers risking getting swiped/hit by cars, which happens in Seattle's narrow streets w/ narrow bike lanes.

Dan, this must have been put up for the purpose of baiting responses that it's an apples and oranges comparison to this city.
Bunch of sissies commenting on Slog today. Our hills are not that bad. Unless you are biking to the top of Queen Anne (from the South) it's not that difficult to pedal up Seattle hills. And for the most part you don't have to, as the major bike routes follow along waterways and so are flat. Also density-schmensity. You can bike the length of Seattle from North to South in under an hour.
Some folks are too old or can't bike. In this war, are they collateral damage?
Every time the Stranger engages in this clueless, mindless, desperately self-reinforcing "Urban Archipelago" triumphalism, Trump gains another supporter.
No, there is a real practical role for bikes but Seattle has not figured it out yet.
@4, You have to bike up hills to reach much of West Seattle. And biking on narrow streets w/ narrow bike lanes with cars that don't value a biker's life is hazardous to most people excepting those that have the dexterity to avoid the traffic.
Most of these comments are misguided. Copenhagen and Amsterdam are the two most bicycle friendly cities in the world. Denmark and The Netherlands don't have an auto industry, therefore no auto lobbyists. If you think the disparities in our infrastructures are the result of anything else, you're fooling yourself.
You are fooling yourself.
It's worth pointing out that Denmark never had a domestic auto industry, so they never faced the political pressure that comes from that sector to maximize public infrastructure and land use policy for car use.

That said, they do some things that could easily be copied here: they convert curb side parking lanes into height-separated bike lanes on nearly all urban arterials, and they include vast amounts of secure bike parking at major transit stops. This has the effect, among other things, of limiting auto-bike conflicts and thus increasing safety dramatically for everyone.
Their post-conversion economic studies show that the bike lanes increase foot traffic to retails businesses vs what had been the previous condition with curb side parking for cars.
@9: Whatever you do, at whatever cost, be sure that the little bubble you live in is never, ever threatened.
Those studies of eliminating curb-side parking?
Any links?
Done by other than bike advocates?
As you can gather, I believe such studies have to be examined very carefully as there is so much happy talk out there in bike world
Bicycle friendlyness and hills an all that crap are bullshit. The fact is, when you have to go a mile to get a week's worth of groceries, you're going to drive. That's what you have to do in a city with a density of only 8,000 people per square mile. Density isn't only a measure of people: it tells you how far spread out *everything else* is too. When a city is two, two and a half times, more dense than Seattle, it means you only have to go a half a mile, or a quarter mile, to get a week's worth of groceries. That's a vastly easier thing to do on a bike. Those Danes or Dutch or whomever are not smarter than us or better than us. What are you a white supremacist? They're just as lazy and stupid as us. They bike because it's easy for them, no other reason.

Not just groceries. Your job. Your bar. Your whole life. Pack everything in tighter and a normal person doesn't mind going a little ways on a bike. A gold plated mile wide bike path with blowjobs and fanfare every 50 feet is nice, but you still have to ride that whole fucking mile, or two miles, or ten miles to get to the thing you need to get to. People don't want to ride that fucking far. QED.

In Copenhagen, they also don't want to ride that fucking far. In those cities, people who will ride miles and miles are as few and far between as any city in the US. But when you squeeze everything in your life, your job, your shopping, your friends, into a tiny area, biking is easy enough that a normal person will make that ride. Normal person, not some spandex asshole. And yes, those guys in spandex are fucking assholes don't try to gaslight us. We've met the fuckers, OK?

Don't even build bike infrastructure. Don't even talk about bikes. It's all about density. Focus on density, and biking, transit, everything else falls into place of its own accord.
Evolved urban people who care about food do NOT buy weeks worth of food.

Sophisticated people who care about their diet buy FRESH food and can easily carry enough on a bike even if it's --wow! -- 2 miles away.

So no, it's not just about density.
My god, you anti-bike people need to get out more. To address some points in descending order of ridiculousness:
1) No, old and infirm people won't be stuck in their apodments in the coming bike utopia, unable to get anywhere because the only mode of travel will be on a bike. Drive a car if you can afford it! Hop on a bus! In real cities, with good public transportation, the olds love it because they can get around even if they can't drive. In fact, car-dependent transportation systems are horrible for old people precisely because they lose mobility when they can no longer drive and they live in a place where they can't walk or bus anywhere.
2) The hills are just not that big a deal. Yes, some routes would be extremely difficult. But my late-middle-age husband and I started biking last summer, and we thought the hills (south of the ship canal, east of I5) would be a huge challenge, and they just weren't. I promise you, we are not in good shape, yet the hills barely made us sweat.
3) Density is just not a big deal, either. And this is where we get into the meat of the matter. Having a bike-friendly city doesn't mean that every single resident will bike for every single trip. Put that bike on a bus to get up to West Seattle, then bike around. Take the car (or car share) to Costco, but bike to the local grocery store for small purchases. Again, my personal experience: hubby and I are talking about getting down to one car and using the bikes a lot more. Ours is not a particularly dense neighborhood, but we think we can make it work. Beyond that, 8000 residents/square mile is an average, which means that half of our neighborhoods are denser than that, and the people in those neighborhoods would benefit from better bike infrastructure.
Yeah, you guys keep repeating that same shit, year after year. How's that working out for you?

I remember when you guys kept repeating John Forester's vehicular cycling shit, year after year after year, for basically 20 years. Finally it dawned on somebody that nobody was buying it, and nobody was living it. So all at once, everybody dropped vehicular cycling and faced up to reality. That was a good first step.

Next step is to face up to the fact that all your role model cities have density upwards of 18,000. Deny it for ten more years if you want, but eventually you'll have to come clean.
No one knows about John Forester and vehicular cycling so your comment is incoherent thus ineffective.

My advice-- and I know you want my advice -- is to explain more and assume less.

This whole editorial boils down to nothing more than a bs Apples to Oranges comparison.

You can't legislate a bike culture into existence.
I agree about density. I also agree that no one who bikes regularly buys a week's worth of food at a time. I bike 90% of the time in my small town. Everything is within a three mile radius of my home- all the shops I go to, the pub, the grocery store, most of my friends, all the cafes I frequent, and I work at home. A couple times a month, I still have to drive to the store to get the bigger things- water bottles, toilet paper, etc. And since I'm in a rural area, the vehicle is necessary of the bigger things (lumber, boats, animals).

When we lived in the city, we shared ONE car. It was easy because I could bike and take public transport 90% of the time, but then we had the car to do the urban version of the things I listed above. I believe this is the arrangement Dan has. He does not drive. His husband does. I'm pretty sure they own a car and yet Dan uses public transport in his daily life.

My point is that while YES US cities will NEVER be like European (or even New England) ones, it is beneficial to make them more pedestrian/public transport/biking friendly both because it reduces traffic AND because it helps individual families by not having to purchase multiple cares. This has secondary benefits in terms of physical health and environmental health.

That said, I've walked across and biked across Ballard bridge a gazillion times without even a clue that it was considered dangerous by anyone so this video seems ridiculous to me. Granted I also spent much of my life in Asian cities so...
cars not cares (in my post above)
Jesus, "a week's worth of food" is just an EXAMPLE of a major trip, not that everyone LITERALLY shops exactly like that for groceries and only groceries. Maybe it's some other stuff that you get. Beer. A crate of library books. Maybe it's your 80 pound kid that you shuttle to and from whatever thing your kid goes to. School, let's say. Lot of kids these days are all into school. It doesn't matter what it is. If biking is only for people who aren't schlepping more than a messenger bag full of artisinal mustache wax, then biking is only for 4% of commuters, and nobody else.

Even so, when you say, "no one who bikes regularly buys a week's worth of food at a time", that's a tautology emphasizing that people who *do* buy a week or more worth of food at a time are not ever going to take up biking (let's not even talk about Costco). And if they never start biking, you're never going to have traffic that looks like Copenhagen.
@25 I'm not sure what your point is. Assuming you are responding to me (you quoted me). I said, in fact, that density matters. I gave examples of that. Obviously if density matters, the kids also bike and walk to school- if everything is in a small handful of miles from where you live then those things are not a problem. And surely you are aware that bikes have crates and baskets and things like that. I buy beer and go to the library on my bike.

I also gave examples that support your point. We do not have cities or lifestyles that are designed for "biking only". My examples were (country living) lumber and boats. There is no way I can haul my boat with my bike nor my table saw nor my chicken feed, etc. There are certainly urban equivalents to this- even in a dense city. Most of us aren't going to be able to get your kids to and from school and soccer practice and get to work and the grocery stores etc on a bike only. Obviously, you are correct about this.

My point was that this is not an all-or-nothing situation. Making cities (and towns) more pedestrian and bicycle friendly and improving their public transport CUTS DOWN on the number of cars a family needs and CUTS DOWN on the number of miles/hours a family spends in the car. It doesn't eliminate it. This is still good and worthy. So why are you only responding to one sentence? I'm not sure what your point is. Are you saying that since we'll never look like Copenhagen then we should just give up on making cities safer/more convenient for bikers/pedestrians and public transport-users?
Is no one also going to point out that from fall to spring it rains all the damn time and not everyone likes getting themselves and all their shit soaked, plus hypothermia sucks? I mean, don't get me wrong, I actually did ride use a bike as primary transport for years (my broke college ass couldn't afford a car) and it's fucking cold!
I like to ride my bicycle, I like to ride my bike.
But, not so much on rain-slicked, car/pedestrian-contested, city streets. For recreation.
Portlan doubles Seattle's cycling rate despite also being American, hilly and rainy. So it is possible and desirable to have more bike/ pedestrian/ public transit infrastructure. All we need is more political engagement.
But if we want the bike rate to be more than 10% we also need density in the medium term, which will also help pedestrians and public transit.
I have lived in Europe for more than a decade and a half and know several biking cities - Copenhagen, London, Oxford, Cambridge really well.

Two things this discussion is missing are emphasis on public transport and eliminating parking places in the city. Nobody I know used solely a bike. There are days when you have the flu. There are days when you need to get to the airport for a 6am flight to make it to your 10am meeting in another city. There are children, elderly and disabled people. Those people need to be able to take public transport. Have a good public transportation system first.

Second, remove most parking in the city and make what's left expensive so it's only used in emergencies. Convert what used to be parking lots and street parking into space that has other functional use. Build buildings on surface lots. Convert underground lots into shopping spaces. This gives you more density. Convert street parking into bike lanes. In most european cities apartments and houses come with 0 parking spaces or garages. So occupants can not have a car and are forced to use public transport. This is the only way a dense city can survive. You can't have millions of cars on your roads. That traffic jam would take days to clear.

If all else fails tax people for driving into the city. Look at London's congestion charge. You have to pay 11.50 pounds per day if you want to drive your car into London during the day and you live outside of London. And if you live in London you most likely have no parking with your apartment or townhouse so you can't have a car. That forces people onto public transport.

Once public transport is established, well funded, and used, biking becomes a useful option to a large part of the population.

@27 Copenhagen is also rainy and cold! It's at 55° north for christsake.
@25 folks in Copenhagen schlep all sorts of things around town on bikes, including small children, furniture, groceries, christmas trees. Partly it's because they have more cargo bikes, partly it's because that's just expected. You see all those things on buses and trains of course too.
@3 Copenhagen definitely does not have wider streets. They do have very few roads with more than two lanes, however.

An interesting thing about density in Copenhagen is that they have no high-rises. The majority of the city is 4-6 story apartment buildings (rent-controlled private rentals, free-market private rentals, co-ops, social housing and condos). I'm actually studying housing and density in Copenhagen at the moment. If you have any questions feel free to email me at .

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