Bicycle strategy: The bicycle as a tool

Copenhagen, Denmark

SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities
The bicycle as a means of transport has been etched into the Danish heritage since the 20th century. Cycling is not considered old-fashioned, but is part of the life of a modern individual. Copenhagen’s objective is to be a cycle pioneer city, and the city has taken advantage of this heritage to rise to a range of urban challenges.

The great volumes of people, goods and materials transported daily within and to different communities generate both air and noise pollution. Finding ways to handle the disturbance on the environment from these flows is therefore a matter of growing importance. Copenhagen’s objective is to rise to these challenges by becoming a cycle pioneer city, as well as the world’s first carbon neutral capital in 2025.

Good practices & solutions

Good, Better, Best: The City of Copenhagen’s Bicycle Strategy 2011–2025 is a collaboration between the city, institutions, external private actors and non-profit organisations, which sets out the guidelines for cycling in the city. As the population increases, it has been decided that streets and cycle lanes should be protected and prioritised over two-way streets, extra lanes and parking spaces.

The city has previously stressed that if bicycles really should be given priority, they will need space in the urban environment. This is being done through concrete measures such as giving priority to bikes in the morning and afternoon, making sure deliveries are made before the morning rush, and painting cycle lanes.

Outcome & opportunities

It is important to work together with local business when traffic is redirected. The city has conducted pre- and post- analysis of, for example, visitors to shops. This principle of following-the-money has been effective in the dialogue with major construction companies. As the city has been able to prove that walkability increases the value of certain areas, more actors have become interested in how the streetscape around the buildings may be used differently.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Success factors identified for Copenhagen’s use of the bicycle as a tool include using the following-the-money principle for dialogue, as well as testing and making step-by-step incremental changes.

Related SDG targets
Further reading

Bicycle Strategy 2011-2025

Engage for the SDGs

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Project: Nordic Urban Ways