(CC Licensed image from Spacing Magazine’s flickr stream)
As Erin O’Melinn’s recent post pointed out, cycling in Vancouver has never been easier. The Burrard Bridge no longer threatens a foot-plus drop from the sidewalk into busy traffic, while the Dunsmuir Viaduct lane turns the former slog through Chinatown traffic into an easy jaunt straight into the heart of downtown. While riding along the new car-free route on Dunsmuir, a cyclist will go over several sets of black cables in the road. These are pneumatic hoses used to measure the traffic and provide valuable data for the city – the data collected for the Burrard Bridge bike lane, formerly a trial, certainly played a part in making it permanent.
These hoses (and the “wire loops fixed to the bike lanes which detect the metal wheels passing over the loops” used on the Burrard Bridge), however functional, lack some imagination. Copenhagen, renowned as one of the world’s great cycling cities, has taken an interesting approach to counting its cyclists. It not only measures the traffic for statistical purposes, but displays the numbers along the route using the device pictured above. This makes for more interesting streets, particularly when compared with the utilitarian stainless steel boxes of the current Viaduct setup. It also adds to a sense of civic and cyclist pride, encouraging riders along as their number gets added to the daily tally. Copenhagen even ran a competition: the 500,000th rider got a free bike.
I love all the bike lanes popping up across the city, especially with the interesting barriers along Dunsmuir (plants, mid-street bike parking), but taking a lesson here from the bike-fixated Danes could only make things better.
– By Adam Gilgoff