It's the Seattle Times' worst nightmare:
Bicycle sensors in Copenhagen clocked a new record this month: there are now more bikes than cars in the heart of the city. In the last year, 35,080 more bikes have joined the daily roll, bringing the total number to 265,700, compared with 252,600 cars.... Copenhagen’s efforts to create a cycling city have paid off: bicycle traffic has risen by 68% in the last 20 years. “What really helped was a very strong political leadership; that was mainly Ritt Bjerregaard [the former lord mayor], who had a dedicated and authentic interest in cycling,” says Klaus Bondam, who was technical and environmental mayor from 2006 to 2009 and is now head of the Danish Cycling Federation. “Plus, a new focus on urbanism and the new sustainability agenda broke the glass roof when it came to cycling.” Since 2005, 1bn Danish kroner (£115m) has been invested in cycling infrastructure, from several new bike and pedestrian-only bridges such as Cykelslangen (the Cycle Snake) to the recently opened Kissing Bridge. “Cycling went from being a normal part of daily life to a core identity for the city,” says Bondam.
Here's how Copenhagen does it:
In a new paper, Stefan Gössling from Lund University and Andy Choi from the University of Queensland take a look at Copenhagen's approach and argue that it explains how the city has built out so much dedicated cycling infrastructure, including miles of uninterrupted and separated bike lanes, and even dedicated bike tunnels, bridges, and traffic lights.... When the city decides on a cycling project, it compares the cost to that of a road for cars, and it includes not only the upfront amount, but also things like the cost of road accidents to society, the impact of car pollution on health, and the cost of carbon emitted to the atmosphere. After including these factors, it comes to a rather startling calculation. One kilometer driven by car costs society about 17 cents (15 euro cents), whereas society gains 18 cents (16 euro cents) for each kilometer cycled, the paper finds. That's because of factors like the health benefits of cycling and the avoided ill-effects of cars.
Of course it can't happen here—bikes will never outnumber cars in Seattle—because we have hills and they have density and this is America and we're pouring billions into a hole in the ground because we're still prioritizing cars in "green" and "progressive" and "full of shit" Seattle. But maybe if we all read this story about the Cycle Snake we can start asking our local elected officials why we can't have a few bike-only bridges around here—and why local cyclists are still forced to risk our lives crossing the Ballard Bridge every day.
In Austria this summer I rode a bike through a mountain—on a dedicated, bikes-only tunnel that went through/along/under a fucking mountain.