The bicycle is one of the main means of transportation in Denmark. Its capital, Copenhagen, has five times as many bicycles as cars. Therefore, the city has incorporated more than 7,500 miles of bicycle lanes to its design.
Cycling is king in Copenhagen
Copenhagen’s loyalty to bicycles will now be rewarded. The Danish capital will host the first three stages of the Tour de France in 2021, as the International Cycling Association announced on Thursday.
The decision constitutes a new step in the trend of starting the route outside of France. Brussels will host the start of the tour. The German city of Dusseldorf hosted the start in 2017, as did The Netherlands before.
Great Britain, Luxemburg, Monaco, Spain, and Switzerland have also hosted the start of the world’s most important cycling race. This will be the first time that the classic competition will start in Scandinavia.
“The Danes set an outstanding example by making bicycles their leading means of transport in urban areas,” race director Christian Prudhomme said on Thursday local time.
“It is a tremendous honor to host the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in 2021,” Prudhomme stated.
For his part, Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, an avid fan of this discipline, described the Tour as the “the most iconic cycling race of all time.”
Both Prudhomme and Loekke Rasmussen stressed that Denmark was chosen due to the country’s interest in the race. But also because many Danes are used to using the bicycle as the means of transportation to get from their homes to their jobs and schools. The Danish leader said that people in Copenhagen “run 330 Tours de France every day.”
Solution to urban problems
Copenhagen had traffic jam problems like all large cities but has managed to turn things around since the 1970s. During the 1960s, there was the political will to examine traffic plans closely, with the purpose of preventing an approach focused on automobiles, common in other cities.
Thus, the country launched research and engineering projects focused on traffic jams, the environment, and business needs.
Copenhagen continues to elevate the standards for cycling in Europe and worldwide. The Danish capital is known as the “hometown of more bikes than people” and has remained faithful to this reputation.
In 2016, the number of bicycles surpassed the number of people by nearly 13,000 in Copenhagen. By 2025, 50 percent of its residents will have used a bicycle to get to school or university.
The city has multiple reasons for this preference.
On one hand, Denmark is at the lead in terms of environmental progress, and Copenhagen is no exception.
What is especially noteworthy about this prosperous cycling culture is its urban infrastructure.
When cities all over the world were focusing on automobiles in the 1960s, Copenhagen was investing in its cycling infrastructure.
A remarkable environmental effort
Between 2005 and 2015, Copenhagen invested €134 million to accommodate its urban infrastructure to the large amount of bicycles that circulate around the city.
Also in 2015, the city finished Havneringen-Harbour Ring route, a 13-km route. Furthermore, it developed the “Green Wave” system, which controls traffic lights depending on the flow of vehicles at any given time of the day.
A great portion of these infrastructural improvements aim to ensure an environmentally-friendly future for this city. As a result, Copenhagen’s urban infrastructure is not focused on automobiles, but rather on bicycles.
Nowadays, only 34 percent of its residents use automobiles.
For more information, check Energía16