A 'Gateway Drug' for Better Bike Infrastructure

These interlocking tiles can be clicked together, without tools, to form temporary grade-separated cycle tracks.

People who want to see more protected bike lanes on city streets sometimes have a hard time making their case. No matter how many renderings and drawings they present to make their arguments, they can't actually show skeptics how the new infrastructure would work in real life – what it would feel like for cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians when part of the street is dedicated to helping people ride bikes safely.

Now the consulting group Copenhagenize Design Co., run by bike-culture evangelist Mikael Colville-Andersen, has come up with what is designed to be a clever (and marketable) solution to this problem. It's called the Copenhagenize Flow, and the company is calling it "the gateway drug to permanent bicycle infrastructure."

Top: A before shut of a road. Bottom: The same road with 'The Flow' installed.

The Flow is a system of interlocking tiles made of recycled plastic and wood that can be clicked together, without tools, to form temporary grade-separated cycle tracks. Copenhagenize is offering a service that would include the tiles and consultation on where to place the tracks according to best practices, along with collection of data and observations that planners and transportation departments can use to convince doubters of the utility and benefits of such infrastructure.

According to the company's promotional materials, one kilometer a day can be put in place with a small team, and it's easy enough to install -- think that other Danish invention, LEGOs -- that community members, including families with children, could be enlisted in the effort.

"We hope it can become a game-changer in the race to make cities more livable through creating infrastructure for bikes," says Colville-Andersen.

About the Author

  • Sarah Goodyear has written about cities for a variety of publications, including Grist and Streetsblog. She lives in Brooklyn.