Have you recently visited Copenhagen and felt the desire to get on a bike? It wouldn’t be a surprise. The Danish capital is still the most bike-friendly city in the world. The Copenhagenize Design Company, an urban development consultancy, has been compiling a list of the best cities for bikes every two years since 2011. Copenhagen is once again leading its Top 20, having replaced Amsterdam in 2015, with the Netherlands having to settle for the other podium places. However, having topped the standings in 2011 and 2013, Amsterdam has also been overtaken by its neighbour, Utrecht. The country’s fourth largest city, with a population of 300,000, Utrecht has recently unveiled the world’s largest bike park – which will offer 12,000 garaged spaces by the end of 2018.
The experts at Copenhagenize, who can’t be accused of favouritism, have been meticulous in their assessments of the candidate cities. No fewer than 14 separate criteria are used to judge them, such as the infrastructure, cycling policy initiatives, how road safety is viewed by cyclists and the respective share of each mode of transport in the city mix. So far, 136 cities have been assessed. “It’s certainly a long process, but it’s also stimulating and inspirational,” is the verdict from the Copenhagenize team. “We are always surprised by the results.”
London and NYC drop out of the top 20 of the world’s most bike-friendly cities
If Strasbourg (France) has held on to fourth place, some of the more surprising results this year were the placings awarded to Malmö, Sweden (5th), Bordeaux, France (6th) and Ljubljana, Slovenia (8th). Tokyo, which hadn’t even made the Top 20 before, took 10th place. Meanwhile, New York, London and Dublin all disappeared from the ranking. Montreal is the sole representative for the whole of North America, having decided to invest the equivalent of €150 million in cycling provision by 2020.
Paris, which has committed itself to investing the same amount in bike-friendly infrastructure over the next three years has risen to 13th place – up from 17th in 2015. Copenhagen has already spent such a sum over the past 10 years, including the construction of 16 cycle-only bridges and crossing points.