Reader Andrew wants to share some photos of his recent trip to Copenhagen.

He writes: So many things I saw that I kept thinking (why can’t Auckland be more like this?)… 

Bikes, peds, short term parking.

But wait, there’s more! bike, peds, cars and….a cafe with loads of people enjoying themselves(!?)

What! There’s a car, everyone must be terrified! oh wait, they’re not, whats going on!?

Everyones relaxed, how can this be?!, but wait! a baby just carelessly left by the road, how unbelievably irresponsible!

Where are all the cars??

What’s this? A major arterial with a completely separated bike lane!? And people are using it and it’s safe? Has the world gone mad?!

Everyone is enjoying themselves by waterfront cafe/venue/ I’m sure theres 100 cars parked just off camera somewhere………don’t know what all those bikes are doing there though….

OK my brain just exploded, people transporting their kiddies by…

Obligatory aerial shot, could Auckland ever be more like this wonderful city?




  1. richard says:

    You will note the cyclists have not been threatened by the safety police and none are wearing plastic hats

  2. Anthony says:

    This is one of several reasons why I love the Nordic Countries. The fact that they have a heavily used cycle lane besides an unfenced arterial road puts NZ to shame…

    Here is a music video of Copenhagen’s Cycling Culture

  3. Travis says:

    It can be more like Copenhagen but will never be the same…the terrain just isnt conducive to the same levels of cyclists… Christchurch on the otherhand….

  4. KarlHansen says:

    Travis, Auckland had tons of cyclists once. Then the car came, and road designers and politicians pushed bikes into obscurity, thinking they were an outdated mode of transport.

    If Auckland’s streets weren’t steep enough in the first half of the 20th century to keep the cyclists from using them, then they sure aren’t now, after we’ve worn them down ;-)

    I consider the Copenhagen example as both a good tool and a bad fallacy both. We need to work on, and celebrate our own wins in making the city better, and for that we can use it to inspire us. But we shouldn’t let the massive difference that remains depress us either. Copenhagen got that way by literally decades of SLOW positive change. I always suspected it, and Jan Gehl, during his visit here, essentially confirmed it.

    I think we can compress that positive change into 10-20 years (seeing that we know what works).

  5. Andu says:

    Hi guys. I didn’t see anything in Copenhagen where I thought ”this would never work in Auckland” We CAN do it. Obviously things would have to be adapted to Aucklands environment.

  6. Anthony says:

    Wouldn’t it be awesome, seeing a couple of electric cars,some trams, trolleybuses, lots and lots of cyclists and pedestrians wandering down up and down Queen Street and having coffee at an outdoor cafe while thier kids play on the playground…?

    *sigh!* ^_^ … day….

  7. LucyJH says:

    I think the hills in Auckland would put you off whether as a pedestrian or cyclist… so what I mean is that if we want a high proportion of active modes (which we all do) then we need to make them work for us. One thing I think would help is if the council could provide more bike parks at places you might leav eyour bike (e.g., my mother often parks her bike on K Road and then walks down Queen St to avoid hill coming back up). also a version of google maps which gives you cycling routes that take the flattest route would be awesome

  8. George D says:

    Lucy the stats internationally show high (20%+) cycle use in a large number of European cities with significant hilliness and elevation (can’t remember where, somewhere on the Copenhagenize blog). So, it can be done.

    And yes, cycle parking everywhere. There should be thousands of on-street parks in Auckland, in prominent places at every town or business centre.

  9. Nigel says:

    I love the photo of “A major arterial with …”. I will probably send it to the NZTA along with my response to their Wellington City Basin Reserve flyover proposal. A 5 or 6 lane road with no double yellow lines, no wire crash barrier, integrated cycle and pedestrian paths. Whew, have the Danes gone mad? No, it is us here in NZ that have gone crazy on the car and safety culture.

  10. Martin says:

    For those who haven’t spent time in continental Europe, European cyclists are a bit like Kiwi drivers; rude and indolent.

    Ive been hit by a fair few of them in Austria, Sweden, Germany and Poland to name but a few while walking on paths there.

    The inportant thing with cycling in Continental / Scandinavian Europe is the high population densities per square mile and general compactness of the metropolitan areas where it is ok to take you bike on the metro/tube/tram into the outer suburbs.

    Also of signifincance is the cost of owning/operating a motor vehicle is far higher then Asia/Pacific/The Americas in these areas.

    All up a very different scenario to North America & Australasia

  11. Christopher says:

    Also think of the health benefits that people would gain from cycling everywhere. We’d probably save money as a country from lack of obesity related illnesses.

  12. max says:

    Martin, I have LIVED in Europe (Germany and France) for 30 years - and may therefore count as being a bit biased - but cyclists there are much less of a menace than Kiwi drivers, and we aren’t just talking about the fact that they have about 99% less of a metal artillery shell around them.

    Having been a regular cyclist and pedestrian in Europe, I have never been hit once, or hit anyone. I can’t even remember SEEING anyone hit anyone (I had, and saw the odd cycling accident myself, but none involving cars).

    The population density argument? Yeez, when will we stop arguing that Auckland is too low density to make things work? Especially as Auckland’s desnity will continously increase in the coming decades. The argument in my view is as false (and defeatist) as the “we are too poor to afford good PT / walking $ cycling” (but apparently can afford tons and tons of motorways) argument.

    Auckland has a greater population density than my former home town in Germany, and cycling worked very well there (as it did in almost every little village as well). Good cycling is a matter of ensuring that our streets provide for it (preferably via off-road paths). That is cheap - dirt cheap in fact - IF our politicians didn’t always do the “lets widen the car lanes first, and THEN check if anything is left for cyclists”. Of course after having taken up all the space of our quite generous road reserves for the next wave of cars coming onto the road, they then say “oohhh, sorry, further road widening for cycle paths would cost SOOO much, and anger the locals who want to keep their front lawns and parking!”.

    It’s got nothing to do with density or money. It’s a matter of design, and political will.

  13. Andu says:

    ”European cyclists are a bit like Kiwi drivers; rude and indolent.” Total bollocks.

    I’ve been living in Europe for a number of years now, as well as returning home to Auckland for about a year 2 years ago. It was interesting comparing peoples habits, mindsets regarding transport etc. It was also a bit depressing.

    I’m just so tired of hearing the same straw man arguments over and over about how Auckland is not dense enough for transport, too in love with cars, too hilly for people to cycle, the only appropriate way is for people to live by the sea and drive everywhere, blablabla. Its all nonsense.

    It’s all about DESIGN. Max has got it exactly right as far as I’m concerned.

    Our poliiticians are dinosaurs, and we need new blood who understand how big cities should work.


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>