by Tanya Thomas on  September 1, 2009 at 10:10 AM Environmental Health
 The World's Cycling Capital - Copenhagen
If you're an avid cycling fan, head to Copenhagen. Denmark's capital has announced its intention to become the world's best city for cyclists.

Copenhagen, which will host the United Nations climate change summit, already has a third of its population cycling to work, school and university.

It has about 350km (217 miles) of cycle routes around the city, and cyclists have priority over cars and pedestrians at many major junctions and traffic lights.

City officials have just announced their plans to get half of commuters using bikes by 2015.

"The city has worked consistently to improve things for cyclists," the BBC quoted Andreas Rohl, who is in charge of the city's cycling programme, as saying.

"Everything you see in Copenhagen today is due to decisions taken back in the 70s and early 80s.

"For people here, going on a bicycle is a bit like brushing your teeth, you don't think much about it!" he said.

He added that the new targets for cyclists were "realistic but very ambitious".

The city is so much into meeting its goal that it recently gave two of its main bridges a makeover to help encourage more people to cycle, with one now completely car-free, and the other developed to include double cycle lanes on both sides.

Research shows that the more people who travel by bike, the safer it is for each individual cyclist.

"We are very focused on the safety. Since the mid-1990s we have reduced the risk of having an accident when you travel by bike by 65 percent," Rohl said.

"The health effect of going on a bicycle is seven times higher than the actual risk of going on a bike," he stated.

Officials believe that they are on track to reach their new cyclist targets within the next six years.

They are hoping to share their ideas with the world at the UN climate change talks in December, and at the city's first international cycling conference next year.

"It's all about changing people's mindsets," Rohl said.

"But it really can be the easiest and the most flexible way to get around," he added.

Source: ANI

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