The Bike Effect: How 'Copenhagenization' Saves Time, Money, and Lives

More
Dispatches about Planet Earth See full coverage

The United States is considerably more suburban than its European counterparts, so leaving the car in the garage and biking to work isn't a universal option. But that doesn't stop environmentalists, urban planners, and green enthusiasts from wondering aloud why Americans can't be more like the Danish, who have turned their largest city into the biking capital of the world.

The benefits are diverse. A 2011 report Copenhagen - Beyond Green calculated that the city saved up to 45 million dollars with bikes, with most of that coming from reduced congestion. As the U.S. joins Europe in the era of high gas prices, it will see similar savings from drivers converting to two-wheels.

Screen Shot 2012-05-08 at 2.32.15 PM.png

Despite all these savings, money isn't the chief motivator for what locals call the "Copenhagenization" of the city:

In a survey where Copenhageners were asked, "Which of the following reactions do you regularly experience when you travel by car/bus/train/bicycle?" 58 percent of cyclists answered "enjoyment". In comparison, people in cars and on buses experienced 34 and 17 percent enjoyment respectively. Mind you, they where sheltered by the harsh weather Copenhagen offers at times. When it came to experiencing stress while travelling, the numbers were reversed. While around 20 percent of motorists and bus passengers experienced stress, this was only the case for 12 percent of people on bikes.5

Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Did I Study Physics?

In this hand-drawn animation, a college graduate explains why she chose her major—and what it taught her about herself.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Video

How Is Social Media Changing Journalism?

How new platforms are transforming radio, TV, print, and digital

Video

The Place Where Silent Movies Sing

How an antique, wind-powered pipe organ brings films to life

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In