Velo-city Global 2012 Interview – Technical and Environmental Mayor of Copenhagen Ayfer Baykal

Ayfer Baykal

Technical & environmental Mayor of Copenhagen

Q: What topics will you address in your presentation?

My presentation is about a brand new cycle initiative for 16 municipalities, including Copenhagen and the capital region of Denmark, that involves creating a high-class network of routes for cycle commuters. We call it the Cycle Super Highway Network. The final network will consist of at least 186 miles (300 kilometers) of high-class cycle routes where services for cyclists and modern intelligent traffic solutions are integrated. The first route, which will be a pilot route, will open in the spring of 2012, and the other two routes coming down the pipeline will open in late 2012. I think it will show all kinds of cycle-friendly cities and regions how possible it is to integrate a system like this that links the suburbs to the city center.

Q: What is the path ahead for cycling in North America?

There is an increasing trend towards more urban cycling, and I am sure that you guys will catch up with European cities eventually. It will not be in this decade, but, in many cities in North America, the bike is simply the quickest, healthiest and easiest mode of transport. I believe that politicians and citizens will soon realize that cycling already is playing a vital role in tackling the global problems of congestion, obesity and climate change.

Q: How can city officials encourage cycling?

There is broad consensus among experts about the starting point for creating new cyclists: It must be easy and safe to ride your bike. Bicycle-friendly infrastructure is crucial for making the bicycle a real alternative to the car. But asphalt and stripes are not enough. There is also the bike X-factor that lies in the sensual and bodily aspects and the actual bike experience – when you stop your bike, meet someone you know, feel the sun’s heat on your face or notice how the ride gives you joy and energy. This experience is the bonus that keeps people in the saddle.

Want More?

Visit our Countdown to Velo-city 2012 blog: momentummag.com/blogs/bike-advocacy

Originally published in the May/ June 2012 issue of Momentum Magazine and on momentummag.com.

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