7 Big Ways Cities Have Transformed Themselves For Bikes

7 Big Ways Cities Have Transformed Themselves for Bikes

The number of bikes in our cities is increasing, and with that increase we're also seeing some major changes in the way cities are designed. Engineers are giving bikes their own bridges, tunnels, overpasses, even escalators, making biking feel like it's an essential, permanent part of the city.

Picture: Classic Copenhagen

Last week, Copenhagen announced an elevated cycleway for the Øresund Bridge, an existing bridge which connects the city to Malmö, Sweden. It's the second longest bridge in Europe, and at about eight miles long, will likely be the longest dedicated bike bridge in the world. That's a serious commitment to the cyclists in the region, but also to the health and well-being for all residents. Customised bike infrastructure is more comfortable, convenient, and safe for those who choose to travel on two wheels, but it's also safer for pedestrians as well. As the biking movement gains momentum, we'll be seeing cities devoting more space and energy towards these awesome bike-only improvements that make streets safer for everyone.

Cykelslangen bridge | Copenhagen, Denmark

Video by Classic Copenhagen

This elevated bike bridge over the city's harbor opened earlier this month as a two-lane, bikes-only connector for Copenhagen's extensive bike network. Cykelslangen, or "cycle snake" curves up and over the water with wide lanes, a gradual climb, and a lovely orange pavement that provides a nice contrast to moving cyclists.

Lugaritz-Morlans commuter tunnel | San Sebastian, Spain

7 Big Ways Cities Have Transformed Themselves for Bikes

Photo by Juande Jiménez

In 2009 the city of San Sebastian converted an old railway tunnel into the world's longest bike commuter tunnel. A little over a half-mile long, the tunnel connects two neighborhoods that were previously inaccessible to bikers on either side. Now cyclists can ride the route all the way to the neighbouring city of Bilbao.

Trampe CycloCable bike lift | Trondheim, Norway

7 Big Ways Cities Have Transformed Themselves for Bikes

For those calf-killing streets what could be better than a bike lift that gives cyclists a little boost to the top? This Norwegian lift dates to 1993 but was replaced last year with an updated design which is now being marketed to other cities. Incidentally, this is the bike infrastructure proposed for DC that spawned an angry op-ed — and subsequent protests — last week.

Bike escalators | Tokyo, Japan

7 Big Ways Cities Have Transformed Themselves for Bikes

Photo via Shift

A similar concept to the bike lift are these bike escalators, found in Tokyo's parking garages and metro stations. A moving track for tires gives a little extra push to riders as they walk their bikes up the stairs. It's a nice gesture for commuters coming home from work, as the last thing they want to do at the end of the day is carry a bike up three flights of stairs — especially in heels.

Hovenring | Eindhoven, The Netherlands

7 Big Ways Cities Have Transformed Themselves for Bikes

Not too many places have managed to integrate freeways and cyclists with success, but leave it to The Netherlands to find a solution. The Hovenring, which was finished in 2013, is a floating steel suspension deck that allows bikes to travel up and over the busy highway. The resulting structure is not only useful, but absolutely beautiful, too.

ECO Bicycle Parking | Tokyo, Japan

Like something out of a sci-fi movie, this bike garage by Giken mechanically parks hundreds of bikes underground, saving time for commuters and space for cities. Users load their bikes into a dock and swipe their membership cards, sending their bikes below ground for storage. Upon return, users swipe their cards again, and their bike surfaces in about eight seconds. Magic.

Cycle Superhighways | London, UK

There are plenty of bike highways across Europe, notably a large system in Copenhagen that allows bikers to move easily across the city. The same concept is currently being built out in London as part of the bike share program, connecting the suburbs with dedicated, numbered routes to the inner city.


    With all the issues we have in Melbourne with bikes, conflicts with riders and pedestrians or with motorists. I really do think there is some what of an ideological position that bikes can exist along side cars in all traffic situations. When clearly that's not the case. As much as cyclists can blame motorists all they want but the problem goes way deeper than this.

    So there really needs to be design solutions f or this problem.

      I agree. Some of these solutions would be ideal in Melbourne for all road users.

      Melbourne was well on it's way to creating a world class cycling network (mostly dedicated, off-road cycle paths and expressways), until the current Liberal state government came to power and cut all funding to cycling infrastructure. The only works that have taken place in the past three years, have been by local council.
      This is issue requires commitment and direction on the part of the government to improve the situation/safety/irritation for all road users.

      Polls, surveys and rhetoric are all hot air and add to the illusion of 'being seen to be doing something'...

      What do you call the above? The whole idea of better cycling infrastructure is to get bikes off the road wherever possible, and to 'normalise' cycling so that it's seen as the legitimate and positive means of transport that it is. Better cycling infrastructure benefits both cyclists and drivers.

    I have given up riding my bike in Melbourne unless it's in the inner northern suburbs where there a bike paths separate from the roads.

    I'd say there are plenty of design solutions if you scroll up...

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