Top 20 bicycle-friendly cities in the world

bicycle park in the city center, Copenhagen, Denmark
In the center of Copenhagen.

Startup businesses are pouring money on bicycle and scooter sharing services, but which cities are ready to provide safe environment for people to move around on two wheels?

Touring a city by bicycle is one of the most convenient, economical and cleanest method of transportation. There is nothing wrong with walking, riding a scooter or using public transportation, but cycling is a well established way of moving around in most places. Many cities have built infrastructure specifically for bicycles, making cycling safe even along busy main streets. Here are the world’s best cities for cyclists.

The top 20 bicycle-friendly cities index 2019 has been created by Copenhagenize Design Co, an urban design consultancy.

  1. Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  3. Utrecht, Netherlands
  4. Antwerp, Belgium
  5. Strasbourg, France
  6. Bordeaux, France
  7. Oslo, Norway
  8. Paris, France
  9. Vienna, Austria
  10. Helsinki, Finland
  11. Bremen, Germany
  12. Bogota, Colombia
  13. Barcelona, Spain
  14. Ljubljana, Slovenia
  15. Berlin, Germany
  16. Tokyo, Japan
  17. Taipei, Taiwan
  18. Montréal, Canada
  19. Vancouver, Canada
  20. Hamburg, Germany

European cities dominate the top 20. The first non-European city is Bogota in Colombia at 12th position. North America is represented by two Canadian cities Montreal and Vancouver at 18. Tokyo, Japan and Taipei, Taiwan are the only cities in Asia, all other cities are in Europe.

If you have problems envisioning what exactly it means that traffic in a city is planned with cycling in mind, you have to visit any of the top 10 cities. It can be surprising how much it changes the flow of traffic on the streets – and also the cityscape.

Helsinki and Oslo deserve an honorable mention: they are cities so far north that winters are quite hostile to cyclists, but the cities still have established extensive infrastructure and services for cyclists.

cycling to work in Helsinki
Cycling to work in Helsinki.

How cities were rated for their bicycle-friendliness

The consultancy behind the index, Copenhagenize Design, reviewed 600 cities across the world that have more than 600,000 inhabitants. The final results were tallied up after they had rated the following factors for each city.

  1. Safe and extensive cycling infrastructure
  2. Facilities for bicycles
  3. Prioritization of bicycles and pedestrians over motor vehicles
  4. Equal gender balance of cyclists
  5. Share of bicycles used for transportation among all vehicles
  6. Increase of cycling over the last 10 years
  7. The level of motorists’ responsibility over road safety
  8. Image of cycling as a daily transportation method among all age groups from children to elderly
  9. The use of cargo bikes for family trips and for delivery of goods
  10. Active promotion of cycling by the city and by other organizations
  11. Politicians’ commitment to cycling (e.g. do local politicians ride a bicycle to work)
  12. Availability of bicycle sharing services for short term rentals
  13. Cycling is already an important transportation method in the city and it is continuously developed further as part of urban planning

The news was reported by Fast Company.

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