Simon Majdrup Hansen is an architect born and raised in Copenhagen Denmark. Eimantas Liudvinovicius is an engineer from Vilnius, Lithuania. He came to Copenhagen as an Erasmus student many years ago, fell in love with the city and decided to stay. Simon and Eimantas were both involved in entrepreneurship at their own universities when they were studying. That is how they met, became friends and business partners.
“We both wanted to do something else than studying and then going to work at a 9-5 job following other people's rules. We have different and complementary skills and very different personalities that makes things interesting and work out somehow”
Simon got the original idea of designing bike paths when travelling around, noticing that most cities outside of Denmark are not very bicycle friendly. It made him wonder, when we know about all the benefits of using bicycles for transport, why is it so hard for cities to become more bicycle friendly?
"why do we keep saying 'no it can not be done', when we talk about behaviour change and changing our cities to more liveable ones? Perhaps it has something to do with people's resistance to change, and changing a city's infrastructure to accommodate bikes rather than cars can be radical and expensive“
Watching his son playing with his Lego, Simon realized that it could be possible to make simple, easy to construct, modify, repair and deconstruct bike paths using a similar concept as Lego. If a bike path could be set up so easily, risk and cost would be lowered. And as the blocks can be moved around and tested, as nothing is made permanently, resistance of policy makers and citizens would be reduced. In this way, decision makers are helped in overcoming barriers to make a change in their city. Bicycles can really change a city and add to the quality of life.
“If a city’s decision makers want to encourage people to use more their bikes for transport and to reduce car use, it is important that they show commitment and communicate it through action”
Simon partnered up with Eimantas and they created Bikway. For the last couple of years they have been busy with concept and product development and now they are already in the phase of demonstrating their bike paths in the different cities, starting in Lithuania. Their bike paths are already creating quite a buzz and they have won several innovation prizes.
“This way people can actually get the experience of what it is like to live in a bicycle friendly city like Copenhagen. The reason it works in Copenhagen is that there is the existing infrastructure allowing space for the bikes”
Biking is great. It's healthy, stress reducing, ecological, often faster, needs much less space than a car, no need for parking and much less expensive than a car. Bicycle friendly cities add to the quality of life, allow for more social interaction between people and are safer for children.
“A liveable city is a city for the people, not for the cars”