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220m-long 'cycle snake' bridge removes conflict with traffic and pedestrians and need to negotiate staircases...

Cyclists in Copenhagen now have their own bridge to cross the city’s harbour. The Cykelslangen – in English, cycle snake – bridge connects Vesterbro and Islandsbrygge and provides a much-needed, safe link for those on two wheels.

Built of steel and with a striking orange surface, the bridge was designed by the Dissing + Weitling architectural practice, is 220 metres long and 4 metres wide. Here’s a video taken by a rider travelling across it.

According to an article on the website of the Danish Architecture Centre, city authorities have set a goal for half of all journeys in Copenhagen to work or places of study to be made by bike by the end of next year, and for 90 per cent of cyclists to feel safe in traffic by 2025.

It adds that the new bridge will help realise that goal by taking riders away from traffic, pedestrians and staircases, all of which had to be negotiated on the previous route, as well as providing a quicker way across the city.

Writing about the bridge for The Guardian, Sandra Hoj says: “When you think about it, the concept of an elevated road is not even that far-fetched: we have been doing this for cars for decades. It is odd, even, that it took us this long to get one, considering its overwhelmingly positive reception.”

Over the past couple of years, plans have been drawn up for a series of elevated cycle lanes running alongside railway lines in London, but in January the city’s mayor, Boris Johnson, said the proposals would not be adopted, describing them as “fantastically expensive.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

17 comments

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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Sigh!
 29

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sean1 [175 posts] 2 years ago
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So what is "fantastically expensive" Boris?

Cost of Cykelslangen is 32DKK, about £3.4 million.

http://www.dac.dk/en/dac-life/copenhagen-x-gallery/cases/cykelslangen/

Cost of Cross Rail is £14.8 Billion

http://www.crossrail.co.uk/about-us/funding#

So London could have 4352 Cykelslangens for that amount of cash.

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Ratfink [114 posts] 2 years ago
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I saw this being built when i was out there in May at the time it looked like some kind of mad video game BMX course as most of the sections were not connected.To be honest i'd never have expected it to be a cycle way.
That city just keeps getting better and better.

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Jacob [40 posts] 2 years ago
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That's my home city  41 Proud to be from somewhere that values everyone equally. We need to be doing more for cyclists in London and everywhere else. In Denmark, drivers also respect cyclists much more as they most likely have a family member cycling to work. We need to educate everyone, including cyclists, on how to share the road and the government need to spend more money protecting it's citizens.

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thesaladdays [105 posts] 2 years ago
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It's nice, but how do you keep the pedestrians off?

In London I can see this just becoming the next tourist attraction, full of visiting school groups wandering around taking photos and clogging up the thing.

Still, good on Copenhagen for having vision  41

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congokid [274 posts] 2 years ago
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Jacob wrote:

We need to educate everyone, including cyclists, on how to share the road ...

No, we don't. We need to build infrastructure just as good as this bridge and that found across the Netherlands so roads don't have to be shared. Do you see any 'road sharing' going on in the photos above?

Education campaigns don't work - everything 'educational' relating to cycling that has been produced in the UK recently has been weak, patronising, misguided if not completely barking and, ultimately, ineffective and a waste of money and time.

But they're popular because they're cheap, easy to do and someone, somewhere, gets a rosy glow because they did it and someone else ticks a box and moves on.

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Quince [382 posts] 2 years ago
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congokid wrote:
Jacob wrote:

We need to educate everyone, including cyclists, on how to share the road ...

No, we don't. We need to build infrastructure just as good as this bridge and that found across the Netherlands so roads don't have to be shared. Do you see any 'road sharing' going on in the photos above?

Education campaigns don't work - everything 'educational' relating to cycling that has been produced in the UK recently has been weak, patronising, misguided if not completely barking and, ultimately, ineffective and a waste of money and time.

But they're popular because they're cheap, easy to do and someone, somewhere, gets a rosy glow because they did it and someone else ticks a box and moves on.

Precisely. We need environments in which anyone can feel safe BEING a cyclist (or feel safe "riding a bike", as we used to call it). There's no better 'education' than empathy, and it's better to provide a safe option for a simple task than require everyone be 'educated' in how to use something fundamentally and unnecessarily dangerous in the first place.

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minnellium [87 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm not sure whether segregating highway users is sustainable. If we let go of the battle that they should be (properly) shared, then what happens when we get to the edge of the cities? We all have to meet (cyclists, pedestrians, freight, cars) somewhere. If we encourage segregation, it's a slippery slide.

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jacknorell [971 posts] 2 years ago
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Jacob wrote:

We need to educate everyone, including cyclists, on how to share the road...

I know what you're trying to say, but cyclists do share the road by default. It's not like we have much choice as quite often bullied by angry metal boxes running up at us and 'barking'.

Let's start with attempting to 'educate' a certain knuckle-dragging segment of the country's drivers that cyclists are people, not targets or things to scare for fun.

Yes, I had an 'interesting' ride to work this morning.

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jacknorell [971 posts] 2 years ago
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minnellium wrote:

I'm not sure whether segregating highway users is sustainable. If we let go of the battle that they should be (properly) shared, then what happens when we get to the edge of the cities? We all have to meet (cyclists, pedestrians, freight, cars) somewhere. If we encourage segregation, it's a slippery slide.

Why would the UK experience be the opposite to all countries that have effectively segregated road users on high-use routes?

We need segregation on dangerous routes, traffic law enforcement everywhere, and ongoing effective cycling education for professional drivers, driver learners and our kids.

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Jacob [40 posts] 2 years ago
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I hear what you are saying but I see plenty of bicycle riders breaking the law by running red lights and riding on the pavement. I think we have gotten to a point in the UK where people are so fed up with each other that we don't want to listen any more. In Denmark there is still respect for other users of the road. Bus drivers, taxi drivers, truck drivers, car drivers, mtorcyclists and cyclist all respect each others space. Education is the way forward. Maybe not for our generation but for the younger generation and for years to come.

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congokid [274 posts] 2 years ago
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minnellium wrote:

I'm not sure whether segregating highway users is sustainable.

It seems to work very well in the Netherlands, where cycling enjoys the highest modal share in the world. Or is that not what you want?

minnellium wrote:

If we let go of the battle that they should be (properly) shared, then what happens when we get to the edge of the cities?

I'm sure the Dutch already have thought of that one. And come up with workable solutions. And what is 'properly shared'? I can't think of a single place that has seen huge increases in cycling by introducing sharing. Maybe you can.

Sharing as it is provided in the UK is a far from effective solution: it's not usually demanded or supported by those who are expected to use it, and often remains unused by vulnerable road users because it is so badly executed.

There are some very typical examples in this excellent blog post.

minnellium wrote:

We all have to meet (cyclists, pedestrians, freight, cars) somewhere.

But why you would want to on a structure specifically created to provide a safe and shorter route for cycling across a harbour? The bridge in Copenhagen is simply a solution that addresses a particular issue and gives people on bikes (and lots of people there use bikes) a safe 220m route across something they'd normally have to cycle a much longer distance around. After using it I presume cyclists return to safe streets and all the local destinations and amenities they always visit.

minnellium wrote:

If we encourage segregation, it's a slippery slide.

A slippery slide to what - mass cycling?

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teaboy [311 posts] 2 years ago
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minnellium wrote:

I'm not sure whether segregating highway users is sustainable. If we let go of the battle that they should be (properly) shared, then what happens when we get to the edge of the cities? We all have to meet (cyclists, pedestrians, freight, cars) somewhere. If we encourage segregation, it's a slippery slide.

A slippery slide to where, exactly? Fully-protected cycle infrastructure on every road? Wouldn't that be horrible. I'd hate to cycle in a place like that. I'm sure kids wouldn't be allowed to ride to school either - it sounds far too dangerous...

Obviously we'll have to meet motor vehicles on some roads (like everyone, everywhere has to). However, these places should have slow-moving, light traffic - residential streets, for example - and not be fast through-roads with large vehicles on them.

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Alan Tullett [1568 posts] 2 years ago
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Quite frankly I'm amazed they didn't do this before. The cycle bridge over the railway in Cambridge was built years ago and definitely improved cycling in Cambridge more than any other thing done since.

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congokid [274 posts] 2 years ago
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Jacob wrote:

I hear what you are saying

OK - you seem to be listening...

Jacob wrote:

but I see plenty of bicycle riders breaking the law by running red lights and riding on the pavement. I think we have gotten to a point in the UK where people are so fed up with each other that we don't want to listen any more.

OK - you're listening, but no one else is...

Jacob wrote:

In Denmark there is still respect for other users of the road. Bus drivers, taxi drivers, truck drivers, car drivers, mtorcyclists and cyclist all respect each others space.

Sounds lovely. What happened in Denmark for all that respect to come about? Was is all down to education? And is it really great for cyclists, or just a lot better than we have in the UK?

I understand however that the Danish government only this year admitted that cycling has been in decline there for twenty years. Perhaps building the bridge above is a tacit admission that education has failed, and infrastructure is the way forward for cycling in Denmark.

Jacob wrote:

Education is the way forward. Maybe not for our generation but for the younger generation and for years to come.

Oh, you weren't listening after all...

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newtonuk [61 posts] 2 years ago
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Hang on! There was a pedestrian walking across the cycle only bridge!

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Jacob [40 posts] 2 years ago
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Congokid - Maybe my patriotism took over a bit  1 No one is perfect... We have the infrastructure in Denmark like bike lanes and separate traffic lights for cyclists and that has probably made the biggest difference. We have also had that for as long as I can remember so when you grow up with things like that everyone just seems to accept it. We are also better at punishing drivers who hurt cyclist so we have the law on our side (something that seems lacking in England).