If cities want more people to bike instead of drive, the solution isn't complicated: Redesign streets that were originally designed for cars to make them safe and easy to ride a bike on, and the cyclists will come. Copenhagen's taken it so far that they considered building a crazy new bike lane between skyscrapers (though the plan later changed, now it's probably for pedestrians—that's also good). Rush hour in the Danish capital looks more like a bike race than a parking lot, and when the city builds new roads, it calculates how much it can save society by prioritizing bikes over cars.
Around half the people in Copenhagen now bike to work. But like Amsterdam, it was once filled with traffic. There's no special Danish or Dutch propensity to bike. It's just that the cities have deliberately built networks of bike lanes. Google took inspiration, and now wants to use data to make Silicon Valley look more like Scandinavia.
The U.S. is already changing: In 2015, as bike lanes quickly spread, an American city finally made the list of the top 20 cities for biking in the world. Though the total number of bike commuters in the U.S. is tiny—still less than 1%—it's grown over 60% in the last decade.
In every city, there's always room for improvement. A designer imagined what a city designed only for bikes—and no cars at all—would look like. Even Copenhagen has a long way to go.
1. Copenhagen's New Bike Bridge Will Be The Craziest Bike Lane Ever Built
Cruise over the water as you hang between two skyscrapers, 200 feet in the air.
2. What A City Would Look Like If It Were Designed For Only Bikes (No Cars Allowed!)
Coasting down from your apartment on your personal bike ramp will be so fun.
3. This Furniture Doubles As Beautiful Bike Storage For Tiny Apartments
A design centerpiece for your living room that is begging you to take a ride.
4. This Bicycle Travels As Fast As A Car, So You Can Ride On Highways
Hi Lance! Pedal your feet, and this covered three-wheeled vehicle will zoom up to 100 miles per hour.
5. The Most Interesting Car At The Detroit Auto Show Is Actually A Bike
The Cyclone may look like a car. But it doesn't require fuel, a driver's license, or insurance—just some leg power. Fred Flintsone would be proud.
6. Google Wants To Make Silicon Valley As Bike-Friendly As Copenhagen
Can Google change a car-centric culture in its own backyard? Data to the rescue.
7. These Historical Photos Show How Amsterdam Turned Itself Into A Bike Rider's Paradise
Pictures from the turn of the 20th century to today show how Amsterdam slowly—and intentionally—changed its car culture. Your city can do it, too.
8. This Is What Rush Hour Looks Like In Copenhagen
Bike traffic is a lot less bad than car traffic.
9. How Copenhagen Became A Cycling Paradise By Considering The Full Cost Of Cars
Cars pollute and cause more accidents. So when deciding whether to invest in roads or bike lanes, Copenhagen calculates all of the social costs involved—and bikes win out.
10. These Are The 20 Best Cities For Biking In The World, And A U.S. City Actually Made The List
If Minneapolis—despite its sub-zero winters—can do it, so can the rest of America.