When Copenhagen started building a new network of separated bike lanes in the early 1980s, it quickly became a model of how to take a city back from cars. Now, more people bike than drive in the city center, and in the city as a whole, more people commute to work by bike than in the entire U.S. combined.

But the city is aiming for even more bike commuters, and keeps building new infrastructure to make cycling as easy as possible. The latest: An elevated roadway that speeds cyclists over an area that's usually crowded with pedestrians.

The Cykelslangen, or Cycle Snake, designed by architects at Dissing and Weitling and completed earlier this summer, winds through buildings a single story above a busy waterfront shopping area.

"There was a missing link that forced bicycle users to use the stairs or make a huge detour around a shopping center," says Mikael Colville-Anderson, Copenhagen-based urban design expert and CEO of Copenhagenize Design Company. "This solution provided a fast A-to-B from a bridge to a bicycle bridge on the harbor, while freeing up the harbor front for meandering pedestrians."

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