Bill Alen - Aug 26, 2008
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In an age whereby travel organisations are striving to save as much money as possible, combat the rising cost of fuel and generally give the impression to the public that they care about the environment, it is only logical for city organisations to cancel motor-powered transport altogether and resort to a transport system reminiscent of the middle ages. This, of course, is neither practical nor realistic. However, some European cities are resorting to the bicycle as a means of becoming more attractive to cycling tourists and locals as well as being friendlier to the environment. Vienna, Amsterdam, Paris and Copenhagen are worthy of the biggest pat on the back, particularly the Danish capital.


Copenhagen is now considered to be the safest European city in which to cycle. Using a bicycle there is also considered to be extremely quick and cheap. Indeed, 36% of Copenhageners now use a bicycle and cover an astonishing 1.1 million kilometers every day. The Danish government wants 36% to turn into 50% in the next few years, thus cutting emissions by 80.000 tonnes on an annual basis.


Vienna has followed the Copenhagen example and now boasts 1100 cycle paths in and around the centre. It is also possible to rent a bicycle for as little as €2 per day as the Austrians try to make their capital as green as in Denmark. The French have experienced similar success in the bicycle field with the introduction of the grey VÉLIB bicycle which was introduced experimentally long ago. They are very cheap as they are subsidized by advertising and 2 million trips have so far been made since the launch date.


Although it is now not official, many consider Amsterdam to be the bicycle capital of the world. It has 800.000 bicycles for 750.000 inhabitants most of which are run down an old, fitting into the typical Dutch image. The Dutch see bicycles as being a function, rather than an image.

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