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Old 06-16-09, 05:16 AM   #1
markhr
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copenhagen cycling sucks

10 days cycling around copenhagen

multiple times forced off the road usually with a nice helpful sideways drift of the vehicle in the passing lane (always fun when it's a bus)

motorists tried to helpfully point out, even from across multiple lanes of traffic, that roads are for cars and got very aggressive, even across multiple lanes of traffic, if you ignored them.

Deafened by hooters if trying to turn left from the turning lane. Apparently the "correct" procedure is cycle to the junction on the bike lane/sidewalk/pavement, stop on the sidewalk/pavement, scoot/push/cycle across on the pedestrian light, wait for the next light change if necessary, repeat scoot/push/cycle procedure until you meet up with the bike lane/sidewalk/pavement in the direction you want to go, continue riding.

if you're cycling correctly on the bike lane/sidewalk/pavement then you have to give way to almost everything (except right turning vehicles, assuming the driver actually sees you and doesn't just drive into you)

the bike lanes, especially in the morning, were littered with glass shards/trash. Also, if in doubt, toss it in the bike lane seemed to be the order of the day

very few people use bells so there's a good chance you may get other cyclists buzzing you as you prepare to manouevre (even with hand signals) around potholes/obstacles/corners; always amusing when it's on the inside of your turn.

bike theft is apparently so endemic it's pretty much ignored

anyhoo, as you can no doubt tell, copenhagen may be rated as a nice place to live but, as far as cycling and I am concerned, it was "teh major suck" (apparent shake downs on storgata, broad daylight bike theft, pusher alley in christiana, copious litter and graffiti everywhere except right outside the palace, let's go out and smash a shop window, etc.)

Strangely, I'd say that london is the cleaner city; if you could believe that. It definitely feels a whole lot less crowded than copenhagen for some reason.
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Last edited by markhr; 06-16-09 at 05:24 AM.
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Old 06-16-09, 05:44 AM   #2
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Another recent internet-generated myth bites the dust.
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Old 06-16-09, 07:03 AM   #3
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I find cycling in london not too bad to be honest, there is the odd idiot but compared to some accounts of road rage experienced in the US I'm glad I'm cycling here! (Except when I see those AMAZING roads some of you get to cycle on!)
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Old 06-16-09, 07:25 PM   #4
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It's called adapting to your surroundings, as opposed to doing what you've always been regardless of what's going on around you.

I run red lights and jaywalk here, but based on what I've heard, I wouldn't in copenhagen.
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Old 06-18-09, 07:52 AM   #5
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Disagree with the first point especially as what I normally do is both safe and legal.

I don't run red lights, I do jay walk. Agree with the second point as Danish drivers are apparently, according to Danes anyway, so used to being king of the road they have "tunnel vision" and are unlikely to slow down for obstacles/people in their way.
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Old 06-18-09, 08:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Longfemur View Post
Another recent internet-generated myth bites the dust.
Hardly.

Sorry about the OP's experience. I have a very good friend who lives in Copenhagen and have visited and cycled there many times. As far as it being "a nice place to live," my friend would hotly dispute that fact. As far as it being a good place to cycle, can't really agree with the OP; I've had nothing but good experiences.

There's some theft there, but considering the way people lock (or don't lock) their bikes, it's pretty light, and mostly occurs in the grittier neighborhoods (Christiania, Fredicksburg). Calling bike theft there "endemic" is a complete exaggeration: Outside of the "bad" neighborhoods (nothing compared to the bad neighborhoods of most cities), the only time bikes get stolen is outside of bars when drunk college kids stumble out and hop on the first bike they see and ride off. AFAIK, my friend has never worried about having his bike stolen in front of his apt. building, for example. And it's considered something of the occasional concern if you don't lock up your bike at all which some people get in the habit of doing. That's really not the behavior of a population afflicted by endemic bike thievery.

The trash? Only places I ever saw a lot of trash were in the "worse" neighborhoods I mentioned above. Generally, their immigrant and druggy areas, places where people don't follow "the rules."

As far as left turns go, you're expected to follow the local laws. IN fact, as far as everything goes, you're supposed to follow the laws--exactly. (One of the reason my friend hates it there; that, and the crap weather for 9 months of the year). Left turns must be made from the bicycling lane. I got pulled over in the evening by police for not having a light. My friend and I had to catch a metro home. (My friend hates these rules, BTW, and says the culture suffers from a lack of imagination and an inherent rigidity.)

Generally, I've always found the entire town easy and simple to bike in. I've not biked in London, but I have visited several times, and I don't think it's cleaner by any stretch of the imagination.

Any of the cycling complaints mentioned above, however, are an order of magnitude worse in NYC--drivers in the bike lane? Trash? Drivers that don't see you?

Wow. As far as I've experienced, the number one form of transportation in Denmark is a bicycle--everyone uses a bike. The bike lane can get crowded, that's true. But Danish drivers usually look for cyclists almost immediately. They can get tickets for blocking bike lanes. On several trips of multiple weeks, I've never been blocked in a bike lane by a car, or even a pedestrian for that matter.

Every time a person rides here in NYC, the number one concern is whether drivers or pedestrians see you. Number two is how the hell you're going to make sure your bike doesn't get stolen.

Sorry the OP had a bad experience in CPH, but the only really nice experiences I've had there were on a bike.
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Old 07-20-09, 09:50 AM   #7
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My neighbor, who is NOT a regular cyclist here in the US, loved Copenhagen...

She rode a bike there for just over a week and thought it was such a pleasant experience, she bought a bike there and had it shipped to the US... but sadly she has discovered the the experience is not to be repeated here in our fair city in So Cal.

Now try to imagine a cycling experience so pleasant that it is the catalyst for a non cyclist to buy and ship a bike home with the hopes of a repeat performance.

Imagine a cycling experience so pleasant that people that otherwise may not bike, clamor for more....
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