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Transport / Mass transit

Copenhagen has just opened a bright orange cycle bridge across its harbour

Copenhagen is well known as one of the world’s most cycle-friendly cities: around a third of the workforce cycle to work, there are bike lanes on most major roads, and the city’s hoping to get half its citizens onto two wheels by 2015. Having already explored all the obvious ways of luring people onto their bikes, the city authorities have now resorted to building a bright orange cycle bridge over the harbour.

The elevated “Cykelslangen” or “bicycle snake” connects the highway to the existing Brygge bridge, which has spanned the southern part of the harbour since 2006. The new extension is 4m wide, 220m long, and, like a road in miniature, has two directional lanes. It’s also elevated, snaking through the harbourfront’s modern apartment buildings at the height of one storey.

Here’s a map of its route, with the new bridge in yellow:

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The bridge was designed by Dissing+Weitling architects to fill an awkward gap in cyclists’ route from the city to Amager, the island across the harbour. Previously, they had to drag their bikes up a flight of steps to get to the main bridge. Now, they can make their way from the city to the island without dismounting. 

Copenhagenize, a local cycling site, reported that some cyclists were so eager to try to new bridge that they actually broke into it before it was open to the public. This, though, was partly because construction was blocking their normal route. Luckily, the bridge is now open, and this cycle-anarchy can now come to an end: the article goes on to assure us that “In general, Danes respect the road signs”. Phew.

The city is also planning six more bridges over the harbour, though these will be for both cyclists and pedestrians.

Here’s the bridge at various stages of construction:

All images: Ursula Bach and Dissing+Weitling architecture.
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