Top 5 bike-friendly cities in the world

Moving around with a bike is a smart and modern solution that more and more people are using nowadays. It is fast, pleasant, and very effective. The cyclists are a community; they share specific values and care about their health and for the environment. Around the globe there are a lot of cities suitable for bikers, where bike riding is no longer a question to consider, but a way of living. On the other hand, many places are still struggling to provide the appropriate conditions.

To become a bike-friendly place can be quite a challenge. Investment in bicycle infrastructure is an intelligent move, but also an expensive one. There are a lot of researches showing the social, environmental and health benefits of using a bike as a main transportation method. An interesting fact was discovered by group of students in Denmark in regards to cycling. They’ve calculated that for every kilometer cycled the society generates net profit of 23 cents whereas for every kilometer driven by car we suffer loss of 16 cents.

Many societies get the idea and move forward toward a better future for their citizens.

For the last couple of years the Copenhagen­ize Design Company calculates the index of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. The review is very interesting and shows how the map of the bike-friendly cities changes with time. Check out the cities in question below and learn some intriguing facts about them.

The pioneer is Copenhagen, Denmark 

Copenhagen took the title from Amsterdam just for 3 years – from 2011 to 2013. The question here is How they did it? The answer is simple: very serious investment and innovative vision behind the project. The numbers are impressive – for the past 10 years they have invested more than €130 million in bicycle infrastructure and facilities. So far Copenhagen built more than 15 new bridges for bicycles and pedestrians. By filling in all the missing mobility links for bicycle transport they achieved the following results – 62% of the people are riding bikes to work or school and only 9% drive cars.

Copenhagen is the best example when it comes to collecting and analyzing data while planning the future. That is why their advancement in the area was so quick and efficient. We can say that this is the most modern and complex designed bike-friendly city on the planet.

Utrecht, Netherlands

Correct. When we speak about bike-friendly cities Amsterdam is the first one that comes to our mind, but in the past few years this small city in central Netherlands gracefully overtook the competition. Actually Utrecht is a religious center and has been for centuries, thus have a lot of ancient monuments and undoubtedly offers very nice city view for the bike riders.

The city invested a great deal of funds and efforts in bicycle urbanism. A good example of smart designed and very useful facility is the Dafne Schippers Bridge, officially opened April 2017.  The architects that built the bridge define it as “cohesive design”. It connects Utrecht’s new district of Leidsche Rijn with the historic city centre. The project is not just a link between the two sides of the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal, but also a way to connect the inhabitants of a new district and indeed to unite the society. The future plans foresees 33 000 parking spots for bikes by 2020. They definitely expect increasing of the cyclist number in the near future. In conclusion let’s just mention that they holds the longest “bicycle street” compared to the rest of the Dutch cities – 6 kilometers.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Even if Amsterdam is not on the top of the list, it still remains one of the most amazing bicycle cities. It maintained first place from 2015 to 2017. The bikes in Amsterdam are tradition, and a cultural symbol, accepted by everyone in this city.  However, the main reason the city is not dominating the chart anymore is the lack of specific plans for improving the situation by developing and innovating. They have very good level of bicycle urbanism, but it hasn’t changed much for a long time.

Try to imagine something extremely peculiar – a future in which Amsterdam have more scooters than bikes. It seems unnatural, but according to the facts the number of scooters rises. Maybe this plays a role in the context of making future plans.

For now, Amsterdam is still in the game and firmly holds the third position. One more thing that is for sure is that Amsterdam can definitely offer you a bike. There are plenty of bike-rental spots all over the city, and more than 40 organizations doing this business. They have nice and easy organized guides for foreigners, because they know that the dynamic of the city traffic can be confusing for them in the beginning.

Strasbourg, France

This city is number one in France and holds the fourth place in the world, which is a commendable position. With population of 271,782 (according to data from 2010) Strasbourg adopted the cycling infrastructure in a very smart way. As a result the fastest way to move around the city is precisely with a bike.

Another unique thing about the city is their system for bike sharing. Inventors of the Velhop system have taken the bike-share to the next level. The authors of the Copenhagenize report confirmed that they have never seen a city with so many bikes on the streets.

Strasbourg have very serious project for infrastructure improving and building of the so called “bicycle superhighways”. They are planning huge area for bikers with three ring roads and several radial routes that will connect several neighbourhoods. This idea will also facilitate their other plans – to increase the number of cargo bikes for urban logistic.

Malmö, Sweden

To follow the evolution of the bicycle culture around the globe is interesting and rewarding task, because while doing so you are also exploring the psychology of each nation. Each local culture have a unique approach to accommodate the cyclists’ needs and in the same time to comply the city specifics. Malmo, Sweden is such a great example of this. The city is connected to Copenhagen with a 16 kilometers long bridge, an innovation that changed the life of the Swedish citizens. They have bicycle ferry between Malmo and Copenhagen which facilitates the transportation and brings more tourism within the region.

Something very clever that we should credit the Swedes guys with is their pilot project aiming to connect the cargo bike logistic with the garbage collection. Such method is ecologically sustainable and if it becomes successful, it would be an excellent example to follow.

Other super innovative idea that was released recently is the Cykelhuset or in other words The Bicycle House. The facility is definitely a place for free car live lovers. Designed to accommodate the bike owner needs, this place is constructed to be as bicycle-friendly as possible. All the spaces can be accessed with bikes of all kind. They have also a bike pool.

These are the top 5 cities in the world where the bike riding is a way of living. This research made by the Copenhagenize Design Company is a complex study based on solid criteria.  They are indexing 14 parameters some of witch: advocacy of the NGO’s, bicycle culture, infrastructure and facilities, acceptance of the society, urban planning, etc.

We see that the numbers of bicycles in the cities is growing and this is a sign that the places we live in are getting more and more bike-friendly.