- Bicycle Culture by Design: prototype

We always have a bunch of ideas kicking around at Copenhagenize Consulting. We are always working on individual, tailor-made solutions when we work with other cities - every city is unique - but last month we decided to try out some ideas right here in Copenhagen. In our own backyard.

Earlier this year we blogged about how Copenhagen tries to keep Holding On To Cyclists by placing railings and footrests around the city to let bicycle users rest against them whilst waiting at red lights. Brilliant idea and we love it. The text on the footrest is a communications template we developed for the Bicycle Office. These railings, are, however, limited in that these railings can only be implemented in certain locations where they don't interfere with pedestrian mobility. There are eight of them around the city now.

Copenhageners, however, will lean up against anything they can at red lights. We have a whole photo series dedicated to it. Have a look around the city. The metal poles are rubbed smooth by all the hands that rest against them.

There are many lightposts around the city that are positioned right at the stop line for bicycles so we developed the idea to exploit this space and cater to - if not the bicycle users' Desire Lines - then their "Stationary Desire Spots".

See our solution in the film, above. We call it the Copenhagenize Love Handle.

It was a massive success during the ten days of the pilot project. We placed six of them around the city, on busy bicycle routes. When the team was taking them down, people protested, saying they loved them. We also set out to track the behaviour change during the course of the pilot project. When a new "thing" appears on peoples' regular route, how long does it take for people to to notice the Love Handles? Would they use them? Answers: Two days. Yes.

The next prototype we whipped together was what we call the Copenhagenize Has Bin.

Before we made this prototype, you see, we had no bin... now Copenhagenize has bin.

Um... anyway...

A couple of years ago Copenhagenize Consulting suggested that the City of Copenhagen's Bicycle Office make rubbish bins tilted towards cyclists. We were thrilled when they finally implemented them. It wasn't quite what we had proposed - we sent them photos of Dutch "Blikvanger" - proposing something bigger, higher up and more noticeable, but hey. The city is bound by design guidelines and it was tough getting permission to alter the existing rubbish bins. So... like with the Love Handles, we decided to just get out there and try out our own version. Rock and roll. Many of the Dutch blikvanger are on bicycle paths, away from roads. We wanted to make a portable rubbish bin that was easy to implement, easy to move and that could be placed on existing poles and masts in the heart of the city. This was more of a 'prototype' than the Love Handles but it, too, was a success.

It was hard to document people throwing garbage - we'd have to stand there for hours - but the nets did contain garbage. Loads of coffee cups and apple cores and banana peels. Things people consume on their bicycles. To be honest, we need to further develop the prototype, but we were so pleased to see that they were used. More of our friends noticed these than the love handles - probably because they were placed along crosstown routes along The Lakes, as opposed to the Love Handles which were on arterials leading from the neighbourhoods to the city centre.

All in all, it was fun. Designing, thinking out of the box, doodling, measuring, welding, implementing, documenting. A little bit of Copenhagenizing Copenhagen. We're now working on a concept involving Love Handles for another city, which will be fun.

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