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conflict between cyclists and pedestrians

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  • J.H. Crawford
    Copenhagen has some difficulty with cyclists who don t respect pedestrians (or car drivers).
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 14, 2011
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      Copenhagen has some difficulty with cyclists who
      don't respect pedestrians (or car drivers).

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/world/europe/in-copenhagen-pedestrians-feel-squeezed-out-by-cyclists.html?_r=1&ref=global-home

      Best,

      J.


      In City of Cyclists, Pedestrians Feel the Squeeze


      By JOHN TAGLIABUE


      Published: September 13, 2011


      COPENHAGEN ­ Mikael le Dous has it in for bikers.


      Mr. le Dous, 56, a power plant engineer, rides a bike himself, as do his children, though he also has a car. He just wishes bikers would behave.

      “We call cyclists the plague of the pavement,” he said.

      Mr. le Dous, a bearded, animated man, doesn’t just grump about delinquent bikers. As the head of the Danish Pedestrian Association, which he founded six years ago, he has dedicated his spare time to doing something about them.

      Armed with a digital camera and a video recording device mounted on the dashboard of his car, he photographs bikers who ignore traffic lights, go up one-way streets the wrong way or plow through pedestrian areas without dismounting, gathering material to present to the authorities to argue for stricter surveillance of cyclists.

      Sometimes, he says, the results of biker misbehavior can be fatal.

      “It happens occasionally that you’ll have an older woman, not hit but surprised and frightened by a bike so that she falls and maybe even dies,” he said. “Then they say, ‘Is the cyclist to blame because she’s an old hag?’ ”

      In a nation dedicated to bicycling, however, Mr. le Dous has been fighting an uphill battle. The association now has only about 160 members, with a meager annual budget of a little over $2,000. But the focus of their annoyance is clear.

      “I cycle a lot. We don’t mind cyclists,” Mr. le Dous said over coffee on a recent afternoon. “We mind people who don’t respect the law.”

      Andreas Rohl thinks he has seen the future and is convinced that it moves on two wheels. Over at the city’s immense neo-medieval town hall, he heads a strikingly successful program to make bicycles the dominant means of transportation. Every day, fully 55 percent of Copenhageners travel to work or school on a bike, though last year, he admits, the number sagged a bit because of a severe winter. Why so many bikes? Simple, he says: “Because it’s easy; it’s an easy way to get around.”

      Broad bike lanes abound in the Danish capital, population 1.2 million, and bikers fill them. Some thoroughfares, including bridges over the harbor, are exclusively for bikes. On some days, Mr. Rohl boasts, as many as 36,000 bikers swarm through the Norrebrigade, one of the streets leading to the city center that now consists of wide bike paths in both directions, squeezing narrow lanes for cars and buses.

      Ullaliv Friis, 66, a retired city official who is the pedestrian association’s managing director, says she appreciates all this, but that there is a flip side. Many retirees and older people live in the row houses in a suburb north of the city center where she makes her home. The sidewalks have become risky for them, she says, because of stray cyclists. “The cyclist has taken over everything,” she said.

      Mr. le Dous looks enviously at a group he sometimes considers his nemesis, the Danish Cyclist Federation. Founded in 1905 and boasting 17,000 members around the country, the federation wields the enormous clout in Denmark on matters of traffic that automobile associations have elsewhere.

      With 25 employees in its main office, the federation has grown in recent years to make the bike an exportable item, not just physical bicycles and biking equipment but also consulting and advice for cities elsewhere seeking to become more biker friendly. In 2009, the federation cited Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for his effort to promote biking in New York (even as angry groups of New Yorkers protested the removal of bike lanes along Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn).

      Frits Bredal, 46, a former television journalist who is the federation’s spokesman, said it was aware of anger over bikers.

      “There is resistance from people who are frustrated by the fact that cities are flooded with bicycles,” he said. “I am a car driver, I am also a cyclist,” he said. “If I bring my car into the city, I’m invariably frustrated.”

      Yet he adds: “Bicycles are not just nice and cute; they will be, and should be, a central part of Danish transport policy, local and national.”

      Bike safety has improved recently, he said, thanks to a range of measures, including wider bike paths and programs to alert bikers to the need for discipline. “Last year, we had the lowest number of traffic accidents ever, including the lowest number of fatalities involving bicycles ever,” he said. In 2010, the number of seriously injured cyclists dropped to 92, including 3 fatalities, compared with 252 seriously injured only five years earlier.

      etc.


      ----- ### -----
      J.H. Crawford . Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... . http://www.carfree.com
    • Mark Jaroski
      It s pretty clear to me that the reporter s assignment was to find somebody in Copenhagen who s disgruntled with bike culture. [Non-text portions of this
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 14, 2011
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        It's pretty clear to me that the reporter's assignment was to find somebody
        in Copenhagen who's disgruntled with bike culture.


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jym Dyer
        =v= I don t know why, but the _New_York_Times_ has been pumping out anti-bicyclist stuff for most of the year. A transportation editor named Michael Grynbaum
        Message 3 of 4 , Sep 14, 2011
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          =v= I don't know why, but the _New_York_Times_ has been pumping
          out anti-bicyclist stuff for most of the year. A transportation
          editor named Michael Grynbaum is thought to be part of the bias.
          Especially embarrassing was their coverage of a dispute over
          bike lanes in Brooklyn, in which they joined forces with the
          tabloid press in favor of car-crazies. (It turns out the bike
          lanes had solid support amongst the public *and* solid legal
          standing, two facts not evident in most of the coverage.)

          =v= So now they've sent somebody to Denmark to ferret out a
          handful of people who don't like bikes? Truly pathetic.
          <_Jym_>
        • Richard Risemberg
          ... Yes. NYT assignment during the manufactured controversy over the PPW bike lanes and a motorhead bikelash? Give me a break! (BTW the PPw bike lanes are
          Message 4 of 4 , Sep 14, 2011
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            On Sep 14, 2011, at 8:08 AM, Mark Jaroski wrote:

            > It's pretty clear to me that the reporter's assignment was to find
            > somebody
            > in Copenhagen who's disgruntled with bike culture.


            Yes. NYT assignment during the manufactured controversy over the PPW
            bike lanes and a motorhead bikelash? Give me a break! (BTW the PPw
            bike lanes are supported by just over 70% of neighborhood residents--
            but the chief instigator of the campaing against them is the husband
            of the women NYDOT head Sadik-Khan replaced.)

            As usual, one pedestrian killed by a cyclists raises an outcry, but
            hundreds upon hundreds killed by motorists is just the cost of doing
            business.

            Usual hypocrisy. for you Nyawkers on the list, a bit of history:
            http://tinyurl.com/437ow23

            Rick
            --
            Richard Risemberg
            http://www.bicyclefixation.com
            http://www.newcolonist.com
            http://www.rickrise.com







            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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