Former Copenhagen Mayor Shocked with Bike Paths in Zagreb

Total Croatia News

“Your city is very dangerous for cyclists.”

At first, Morten Kabell looks like a typical citizen of Denmark. And, just like a typical Dane, he travels by bike wherever he can. No wonder therefore that, after he came to Zagreb, the former mayor of Copenhagen was shocked. “Your city is very, very dangerous for cyclists,” he said visibly upset, reports Večernji List on October 9, 2018.

“It can be changed so easily. You have the necessary space, the streets are wide enough, and the city is not too large. In just a few years, you could build an infrastructure that would allow unobstructed bicycle traffic,” Kabell explained.

He came to Zagreb thanks to the Njuškalo’s New Link Conference, where he gave a presentation on how to make cities more bike friendly. And he knows what he is talking about. During his term in office, a lot was accomplished in Copenhagen for people using bicycles.

“In Copenhagen, 62 percent of people use bicycles as their main means of transport. Not because we care about the environment, although we do, but because it is the fastest way. If I use my car to go to work, I need 45 minutes. With a bicycle, it takes me 15 minutes,” said Kabell.

But what about bad weather, rain, snow, cold? “There is no bad weather, just bad clothing,” said Kabell. “When good infrastructure exists and when there is a positive driving culture, and people are dressed appropriately, cycling is possible under all conditions. It is a little harder in the snow, I admit, because it is slippery, but it is easier than using the car. There is no painstaking search for a parking space or cleaning your car,” he added.

The next question is where to start and how much does it cost. “You should start by constructing a long cycling route. Connect point A and point B. You now have a lot of short, unconnected paths, which does not make any sense. You need to build one long section in a useful direction and then work out logical crossings. And such a network can then be expanded. There is enough room, you just need to change its purpose. We in Copenhagen needed 13 or 14 years to build the infrastructure we have today, and all this cost around 200 million euro. When you take everything into account, the price is not too high,” concluded Kabell.

Of course, in addition to saving time and the environment, the advantage of cycling is that it is also a form of physical exercise. “Of course, this is an excellent way of preventing obesity. Bicycles are a miracle,” proudly concluded the former mayor.

Danes are considered to be the happiest nation in the world. What is their secret? “I would not say we are the happiest, but I would say that we are happy. We live well and we look forward to it,” he explained.

Another good advice for Croatia to heed and follow.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Martina Strukić).


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