By Talia Avakian
November 30, 2016
Credit: AsianDream/Getty Images

For the first time, Copenhagen's city center now has more bikes on its streets than cars.

The Copenhagen municipality first started manual traffic counts of bikes in the city center in 1970, when there were 351,133 cars compared to 100,071 bikes, according to municipality representatives.

This year’s numbers show a total of 265,700 bikes, compared to 252,600 cars, with the addition of 35,080 bikes in the last year alone.

“What really helped was a very strong political leadership; that was mainly Ritt Bjerregaard, who had a dedicated and authentic interest in cycling,” Klaus Bondam, head of the Danish cycling Federation, told The Guardian.

Cycling has become a preferred option for some residents in the city.

“People see that the fastest way to get around town is on a bicycle, Morten Kabell, mayor of technical and environmental affairs told The Guardian.

The city has been making various efforts to improve its bike culture, including the introduction of new bike and pedestrian trails, highways, and bridges, and initiatives like the bicycle strategy for 2011 to 2025, which aims to make Copenhagen carbon neutral by 2025 through improved conditions in areas that include cycling.

“It’s not in our genes, it’s not in our water…what we’ve shown the rest of the world is that if you build protected infrastructure, people will start riding their bikes,” Kabell said.