Danish-Canadian urbanist Mikael Colville-Andersen—presenter of the Canadian TV series Life-sized City—is behind an initiative to bring bicycles and pop-up cycle infrastructure to the Ukrainian city of Lviv, 50 miles from the Polish border.
As Russia’s invasion forces continue to bombard the east of Ukraine the western city of Lviv has become home to 200,000 Ukrainians fleeing the war. Many of these internal refugees arrived in Lviv by car, an influx which has continued to grid-lock the city. Public transport has also been overwhelmed.
Bicycling could be the answer. Lviv’s transport department contacted Colville-Andersen to ask his advice on boosting bicycling in the city. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, Colville-Andersen—the Anthony Bourdain of urbanism—has worked on cycle initiatives in cities across the world.
“Lviv needs bikes and know-how so they can spur a biking culture fast,” said Colville-Andersen.
“We have both in Denmark.”
Along with volunteers, Colville-Andersen has formed bikes4ukraine, a crowdfunding and awareness campaign aiming to transfer pre-owned bikes from the citizens of Copenhagen to those who need them in Lviv.
“There are more bikes than people in the Danish capital,” said Colville-Andersen, “and 400,000 bikes are trashed every year so it’s likely that there are many spare ones available.”
Bikes4ukraine aims to collect 2,000 unwanted bikes from Copenhagen on June 12. Following a health check the bikes will then be trucked to Lviv.
Later, the plan is for $250,000-worth of pop-up cycleways to installed across Lviv, said Colville-Andersen. Bikes4ukraine is raising funds via GoFundMe.