The Bicycle Snake

Updated 23.03.20 |
Karen Sejr

Photo credit: Rasmus Hjortshøj

The Bicycle Snake in Copenhagen underline the City of Copenhagen’s profile as a sustainable, bicyclefriendly metropolis. The bridge is a hub for cyclists and pedestrians, and it is one of the reasons tourists flock to the capital.

The Bicycle Snake reduces traffic by 1,400 km every day, corresponding to 87 t of CO2 annually. In monetary terms, the Bicycle Snake has a net present value of DKK 44 mill. over 20 years. Source: Copenhagen’s Cycle Accounts 2017

The City of Copenhagen wants more people to use their bike and the Bicycle Snake will help. With its distinctive orange cycle path, light structure and soft curves, the bridge snakes its way across the inner harbour near the Vesterbro district of Copenhagen.

It provides a shortcut for cyclists and saves them time; just as it saves Copenhagen from more congestion and traffic exhaust. Around 12,000 cyclists cross the bridge every day, saving them a total of 380 hours daily compared to the longer route through the city.

The Bicycle Snake is more than just a bridge; it’s an international icon for Copenhagen and the architectural solution reaches beyond its basic function. The bridge ‘floats’ six meters above the water and some of the wharf where pedestrians can now walk without having to make way for cyclists.

The bridge has boosted the city’s cycle tourism and draws countless guests to the capital. Thus, in a literal as well as a figurative sense, the Bicycle Snake is a structural element of Copenhagen as a cycling city. According to the 2019 City of Copenhagen cycling report, construction of cycle paths will increase the number of cyclists in the city by 15-20%.

Photo of the Bicycle Snake by Dissing+Weitling Architects. Photo credits to Ole Malling
Photo: Ole Malling

About the Case

DISSING+WEITLING has made the long bicycle ramp/bridge that takes off from Havneholmen and continues in a winding course along Fisketorvet towards the shopping center's main entrance. The bridge completely separates cyclists from pedestrians and have hereby solved a large logistic problem.

The bicycle snake meanders 6-7 meters above sea surface with a length of 190 meters and 30 meters of ramp. The bridge is made of steel, which helps to give it a light and elegant look. The surface has a bright orange color, which creates a clear visual course for cyclists.