Since 1995, Copenhagen's colourful city-bikes have been a mainstay of the city’s traffic, often seen in bike lanes, leaning up against city buildings, next to train stations or sometimes, in a rusty, mangled mess in one of the city lakes or along the railway tracks.
But after being instituted as one of the first public bike systems, the city-bike was discontinued. Initially, City Hall decided against implementing a new city-bike system due to financial constraints, but widespread criticism has resulted in the city investing in the new bikes after all.
The system will be far more modern and accommodating than their predecessors, offering riders a built-in tablet that can be used to find directions, listen to music and purchase public transport tickets. Furthermore, the bike’s aluminium frame means it will weigh less than the old ones.
“It is great news that there will be a city-bike system after all. Anything else would have been silly,” Frits Bredal, of Dansk Cyklistforbund, a bike advocacy group, told Politiken newspaper. “It also helps maintain Copenhagen’s image as one of the world’s leading cycle-friendly cities.”
The new bikes will be located by train stations, giving people who commute by Copenhagen by car or train the opportunity to cycle the last distance to their places of work, as well as catering to tourists.
While the old bikes were useful in their own right, they did have their pitfalls. Many of the bikes ended up outside the designated use area or, worse, discarded and trashed in lakes and parks, as it only required a 20 kroner deposit to release one from its shopping trolley-like locking system.
But the new bikes will circumvent this problem as users will be required to register electronically, something that will hopefully lead to mare responsible use, Bredal said.
“In principal, you could toss the old bikes into a lake and all you would lose would be 20 kroner,” he told Politiken.“Fundamentally, the new bikes are sound, although there will probably be a few issues that need adjusting when they hit the streets.”
While the city council continues to round up the old bikes, around 1,250 of the new bikes will hit the streets some time in 2013.