Politicians being urged to rethink policy of 50% commutes by bike by 2015

Politicians in Copenhagen are facing demands to cut back on plans to increase cyclist numbers following fears that the large number of riders there are behaving recklessly.

In the city where more than a third of residents use a bike to get to work, police say that riders are weaving between people on pedestrianised streets and terrorising them.

"The cyclists aren't very good at sticking to the rules. They typically go into pedestrian areas," Mogens Knudsen, operations leader of the Copenhagen police's traffic unit, told the Global Post.

"If you walk down pedestrian shopping street Stroeget, you will see cyclists zigzagging between the people, and they do so at a high speed," he added.

There has also been a rise in the number of fatal collisions in the cycling capital, leading to concerns that the stated aim of 50 per cent of all work and study related trips to be by bike by 2015.

Plans to roll out facilities for more cyclists include building thousands more bike parking spaces, and, most controversial for drivers, where cycle lanes are too narrow, converting entire roads to cycle paths.

In the run up to last month’s local elections, the centre-right Liberal Alliance party campaigned under the slogan: "A city for all -- motorists too” - saying that pro-cyclist road policies were unfair.

The German magazine, Der Spiegel, says that cycling has become a victim of its own success in Copenhagen, writing: “Cycling has been heavily promoted, and more and more people are taking to the pedal -- but eventually cycling paths, bike racks and other parking areas have begun to run out of space.

"The bike boom -- long seen as the universal solution to roads jammed with parked cars, dead inner cities and other urban maladies like noise, smog and lack of exercise -- threatens to choke on its own success.”

Two years ago we reported how cyclists on some of the busiest routes in the city said it had become overcrowded.

One cyclist, 22-year-old university student Lea Bresell, said things can sometimes get physical: "You have to elbow your way in to go forward and some cyclists aren't always thoughtful."

Danish Cyclist Federation spokesman Frits Bredal said that the creation of higher volume cycle highways is now a necessity to deal with the huge volume of two-wheeled traffic.

"Copenhagen's roads are overloaded with people who want to ride their bicycles in all kinds of weather," he said.

"It's a mode of transportation used by all social classes, even politicians ride bikes,"

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.