The Village Idiot of Urban Innovation →

February 06, 2015 |

Mikael Colville-Andersen, Copenhagenize Design Co.:

I meet amazing, inspiring people when I travel the world with my work. I see a lot of things. Many of the things are good. Many are, however, strange and frustrating. Especially regarding infrastructure. It boggles my mind every time I [see] - or worse, ride on - bike lanes on the wrong side of parked cars in between the door zone of primarily single-occupant vehicles and moving traffic in North American cities and I thumb my nose at every sharrow I see. That fakest of all fake bicycle infrastructure. That sheep in wolf’s clothing.

Despite a century of Best Practice in bicycle infrastructure and tried and tested networks occupied by tens of thousands of daily cyclists in cities that “get it”, there are still so many mistakes being made elsewhere. I see stuff slapped lazily into place by engineers and planners who don’t ride bicycles in their city and who haven’t even tried it. Mutant Frankeninfrastructure from the lab of a Marvel Comics nemesis’ laboratory.

The Madrid Mayor has led a city-wide campaign to fill the streets with those infamous sharrows, and so far the results have been pretty underwhelming. No matter how nice you paint them, sharrows are not real bike lanes, and people don’t trust them.