To help us get through the next couple of colder months, dandyhorse is profiling cyclists from around the world! Folks who love to cycle here in Toronto and further afield will give us insight into what it's like to cycle in their cities. Want to add your voice to the Bike Spotting series? Get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rune Gjøs is the head of the cycling department at the city of Oslo. This is him and his son on their daily shop run.
What is it like biking in your city?
It used to be pretty scary due to poor bicycle infrastructure. The few bike lanes being built was also narrow without any protection against motorized traffic. The last couple of years a lot of new infrastructure has been put in place and the City of Oslo is investing annually 20 million Euro in new bike facilities. Oslo is actually improving and there is a shift in mentality all over the city towards regarding bicycling as a normal, everyday mode of transport. Not as a hazardous sport like it used to be 5 years ago.
How are the bike lanes?
The ones previously built pretty bad, actually. Narrow no protection from motorized traffic. The new ones we put in place are wider, but still no lanes are protected. The reason is that national legislation doesn’t comply with protected bike lanes. But we are pushing on and plan to build the first proper, Copenhagen style, bike lanes, wide and protected spring 2018. This will mark a colossal shift in how we perceive bike infrastructure in a Oslo and will pave way for a bright future for safe and convenient biking in Oslo.
What can the city do better?
We can build better bike infrastructure quicker, we have poor facilities for bike parking so we have to sort that out, and winter operations must improve so winter biking can increase.
Where else would you like bike lanes?
All over the city. We aim to develop a bicycle network of at least 600 kilometers towards 2040. Putting in over 100 kilometers by 2025.
What is the relationship between cars and bikes?
It could be better of course, but, with new and improved bike infrastructure it is getting better. And, bike ridership has increased the last five years meaning that far more people to bike. My experience is that more people on bikes means that motorists are more used to bikes, and more attentive. I really do believe in safety in numbers.
If you could summarise city cycling in one word what would it be?