Cyclist footrests branded as barmy

Copenhagen Council has been criticised by residents for spending a sizeable chunk of public funds on footrests for cyclists to use at traffic lights.

As part of its ambition to become the ‘city of cyclists’ by 2015, the Danish capital’s technical and environmental department (TMF) has installed the metal rails, which are adorned with statements, such as “Hello, cyclist! Take a breather,” and “Thank you for cycling!”, at various road intersections.

According to the city’s ‘bicycling secretariat’, a successful pilot project of just five footrests has led to plans to add another 20 across town at a cost of DKK 187,000 (EUR 25,100). There are also designs on the drawing board for other bicycle-friendly inventions, such as tilted rubbish bins that people can toss their trash into as they pedal past.

“Cyclists think it’s really great to be able to rest their foot when they are stopped at red lights at major intersections,” Ayfer Baykal, Copenhagen’s deputy mayor for TMF, told Politiken. “So the way I see it, it’s evidently a good idea to put up more and make it easier to be a cyclist in Copenhagen.”

However, comments on the news agency’s website have not been so positive, with many readers saying the money could be better spent, especially at a time of global financial crisis.

“A foolish spin project. One thing is for sure – it was not thought up by a cyclist,” Simon Bang from Osterbro wrote. “It was thought up by an administration that doesn’t have contact with the city-life they are managing.”

“Use the money to patch the holes I pass on my way to work instead. I am sure most of the others will approve,” Jesper K Vanlose added.

Another resident called Julie, however, said she supported the idea but not the hefty price tag. “I think the footrests are a good invention,” she wrote, “but I didn’t know they were so expensive, and I go along with the proposal to pay for them with advertisements, instead of spending municipal money on them,” she added.