The cargo bike is the new family car

kids in cargo bike
CC BY 2.0 kids in Copenhagen cargo bike/ Lloyd Alter

You know that bicycle urbanism, the idea that bicycles can change cities, is really taking hold when architectural critics start talking cargo bikes. Alex Bozikovic of the Globe and Mail sees the light and writes What Canada can learn from Copenhagen: The best city for cycling, but the lessons apply to American cities too.

Alex explains that Copenhagen wasn't always Copenhagen:

This climate didn’t emerge by itself. Copenhagen has made a sustained policy effort to encourage cycling as a routine mode of transport, including a network of safe, separated bike routes that span the city and now extend beyond it. The Danish capital has an important lesson for cities looking at cycling: It is entirely possible to get ordinary citizens – and their kids – on two wheels.

“The basic tool is to create safe and convenient infrastructure,” explains Marie Kastrup, bicycle program manager for the City of Copenhagen. “You create infrastructure where cyclists can go easily and quickly from A to B.”

Meeting MikaelMikael Colville-Andersen on a bike/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

Alex also talks to TreeHugger regular Mikael Colville-Andersen, who reiterates that the bike was no more ingrained in Copenhagen than it was in North America:

It wasn’t always this way. While Denmark had a strong culture of urban cycling by the 1930s – a practice imported from Britain, as Kastrup points out – car culture hit, just as it did in North America, and by 1960s just 9 per cent of Danish commuters were on bicycles. But the oil crisis of the 1970s and a strong political push toward sustainability led to a transformation. “It was both top-down and bottom-up, a rare synthesis,” Colville-Andersen says.

More in the Globe and Mail.

The Globe also talks to three families from Vancouver, Toronto and chilly Ottawa who get around by cargo and regular bike, and a review of cargo bikes. Someone send a copy to Jim Kenzie at the Star.

Tags: Bike-Friendly World | Biking | Copenhagen

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