I try not to get too preachy about how much better the Copenhagens and Amsterdams of the world are for cyclists. It's a played argument and there's a lot rolled into why and what allows these two countries, whose combined square mileage is about the size of North Carolina, to excel in bike infrastructure. While I long for the day when I live in an America that has dedicated bike traffic lights and bike lanes that are always safe and separated from traffic all while parking my bike in a covered space filled with other bikes, the truth is that we're probably years away from that level of dedication. What we US cyclists need now are quick, simple, thoughtful improvements that can be implemented without the need for mass legislation. That's where I turn back to Copenhagen for an inspired idea.
One of the more sketchy moments of any bike commute are the few seconds when the light turns green that it takes for a cyclist to begin transferring power to the crank in order to propel the bike forward. We've all either done the "Skip and Push" or the "Running Man" or whatever you call it but it's the few seconds of slow wheels in a busy intersection that can be the most frustrating part of the journey. This is especially true if you've got another commuter behind you or are riding with somebody who has mastered the track stand.
The Danish idea is a clean and simple one, a pair of railings for a cyclist to grab onto and rest their drive side foot on while stopped at a red light. The left foot remains on the pedal and you're ready to go as soon as traffic laws allow. The idea is simple, non-disruptive, required very little materials and creates a safer environment for cyclists and motorists alike. The idea is the result of a partnership between the city of Copenhagen and the bike advocacy group ibikecph. The railings even offer good vibes as the foot railing reads, "Hi, cyclist! Rest your foot here...and thank you for cycling in the city." No, Copenhagen. Thank YOU for showing us all that sometimes the simplest ideas can have a big impact.