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Bike News Roundup: More incredible bike-friendly innovations out of Copenhagen

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First up, Copenhagen has outdone itself again on the whole transportation cycling thing. The element here that sticks out the most to me is not even the awesome bike snake, it’s the green lights lining their bike lanes that tell you whether you are going to make the green light or not. So not only are their stop lights timed to bike speed (AKA a “green wave”), but now the bike lanes themselves will tell you whether you are in it or falling behind. Simply brilliant:

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Pacific Northwest News

Halftime show! Buenos Aires has been busy getting into the BRT and bike/walk streets game, and it’s working wonderfully:

National & Global News

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14 responses to “Bike News Roundup: More incredible bike-friendly innovations out of Copenhagen”

  1. Marlan

    Does anyone know how much it costs to create an elevated, Copenhagen-style bike path? Would this be an option for the Ballard missing link or other Seattle locations that need a bikeway, but are limited by geography, traffic, or auto-favoring opposition?

    1. Augsburg

      In the video, they said the Copenhagen “snake” bridge cost about $6M in US dollars. That’s pretty close to what a similar ped/bike bridge would cost if built in Seattle. I think the pedestrian bridge over Westlake Ave in South Lake Union built a few years ago was about that price.

      Sounds like a lot, but it is a lot cheaper than other alternatives for adding commuter capacity from Ballard. Even buses cost a lot when you figure they can cost $500k or more up front to purchase, and to operate over their life time is millions per bus.

  2. I’ve asked a few times in the past, but has the study of real bicycle infrastructure on the Ballard Bridge gone anywhere? Those sidewalks are even more dangerous because they seem so inviting.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      On my list of stories to report, but thanks for the reminder. I’ll bump it up the list.

  3. Andy

    I love those green wave LEDs. Not clear on how it could be implemented on a hilly street like 2nd (presumably downhill would get a green wave, uphill wouldn’t?), but hopefully they select an appropriate design speed that takes in to account the grade.

    1. dave

      The green wave LEDs seem neat, but I also would worry that they would encourage bicyclists to speed and to ignore peds crossing the path so they can catch that next green light.

    2. jay

      Even if one couldn’t keep up with the wave on a climb, knowing where it was would be helpful. I can’t count the number of times I’ve pushed myself harder than I really wanted to get to a green light just to have it turn red as I got there, in which case I would have been better off just taking it easy. Often one can watch the pedestrian countdown signals to have a longer warning, but this is Seattle: it is not all that uncommon that the Pedestrians get a don’t walk even when the light is not going to change for the traffic lane! Of course that makes it a lot easer to install something like that in Seattle, instead of a “Green Wave” one could have an “Orange Wall” and not bother switching the lights at all. (Check out the shared use path along Alaskan way between the Aquarium and ferry terminal)

      As far a pedestrians crossing the path, I’d imagine this would only be used where the majority of pedestrian crossing would be at signaled intersections. On parking separated cycle tracks one would have people entering/leaving the parked cars but that would be relatively infrequent. Also, I think they said the speed of the wave in the video is 20kph about 12.4 mph, not blindingly fast. I have to wonder what the car drivers in the parallel lanes think about that, though with $9/gal gas, they lost the “war on cars” long ago.

  4. Matthew Snyder

    I read that there will not be a bike share docking station at Pike Place Market because of the Alaska Airlines corporate sponsorship that will presumably be prominently displayed at each station. This is clearly very bad news indeed for bike share. I wonder if the management of Pike Place could be persuaded to change the decision if Alaska Airlines were willing to waive their right to corporate branding at this docking station.

    1. jay

      Alaskan’s branding is on the bikes, which move from station to station. Station sponsorship is separate.
      I suppose hypothetically some philanthropist could buy a station sponsorship and have the Market Association’s (or whatever they are called) logo put on it. But “Pronto” itself probably doesn’t really meet the Market’s requirements, I’m sure Alta doesn’t, I don’t know if Pronto is sufficiently separate from Alta to pass.
      However, the Market would probably be a bad place for a bike share station anyway, with the pedestrians tag teaming the crosswalks it is an unpleasant place to ride.
      More bike pedestrian conflict would probably be worse for the bike share that not having a station literally in the market (but a station nearby would seem desirable anyway)

      It is interesting that the Market is a something like a year or two older than the Model T, but as one can see here: http://www.pikeplacemarket.org/history Cars are the American way.

      1. Matthew Snyder

        Thanks for the clarification. I had forgotten that Alaska’s sponsorship only included the bikes and not the docking stations themselves.

        I disagree that the market would be a bad place for a bike share docking station. It’s not ideal, sure, in the sense that there is a lot of pedestrian traffic, but it’s not a place where you need to ride at top speed. Keep in mind that the entire business model of bike share depends on tourists and single-day users buying in. You have to make sure that top tourist attractions are well-covered by docking stations — otherwise, what tourist is going to lay out $8 plus another $6 or more helmet rental? Seems like there should be a better solution than asking tourists to use a (presumably quite busy) docking station several blocks away.

  5. Ben P

    Love the green wave. Reminds me of a similar though significantly worse idea I had in drivers ed some years ago. See, they put on these train collision vids to try and scare us from attempting to beat the train. But at the time I just saw a bunch of people trying to beat the train but having some difficulty. My thought was why not get rid of the easy to drive around and clearly not working gates and instead install a signs indicating necessary speed to beat the train. Now a bit older, I realize this would create unparalleled CARnage. Kids have the funniest ideas.

  6. Doug Bostrom

    Any news on the British cyclist struck by a vehicle up near Shelton?


    Wondering if he’s currently being bankrupted by our medical establishment, needs local help, etc.

    1. Doug Bostrom

      Ok, this is even more of a bummer. The guy was riding on a fundraiser:


      Barely made it out of Seattle on his planned ride:

      First he cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End. Then it was 3,000 miles coast to coast across the USA, once again on two wheels. “There’s definitely more to come,” Steve Prime, Owner of the Esquires Coffee in Coventry, warned Echo readers after completing his epic 32-day slog from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.

      Three years on, true to his word, he’s back in the saddle. This August, Steve will return to North America to take on yet another gruelling bike ride. This time he’s heading down the west coast from Seattle, Washington to Los Angeles, California. And like before the aim is to raise as much money as possible for Coffee Kids, the non-profit organisation which strives to improve the quality of life for children and families living in coffee growing communities.

      Steve plans on taking 19 days to cover approximately 1400 miles with the final destination being Santa Monica Pier, the same place his coast to coast journey of 2011 came to an end. Keeping Steve company on their own bikes will be his friends Dayle Walker and Nathan Ellis.
      “It’s not as long as the last ride and we’re going to rest for a couple of days along the way in San Francisco, but it’s still going to be tough,” says Steve.
      “So far the training has gone well and I’ve been doing quite a lot of gym work to improve my overall stamina.
      “Going from coast to coast involved pedalling between 120 and 130 miles each day which was extremely tiring. This time it’ll be more like 80 to 90 miles per day which should be more manageable. I can’t wait to get started!”

      1. Doug Bostrom

        Coventry Telegraph follows up w/an article.


        Broken wrist, six ribs, some vertebrae. Nothing permanent (except the nasty memory, I guess). “Lucky” considering he was struck by a vehicle moving at 40mph.

        The fundraiser made its financial goal. Hopefully being forced to abandon the ride by getting run over by a pickup truck won’t invalidate the whole affair.

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