A New City Ranks as the World’s Most Bike-friendly

2015 sees Amsterdam slip from the top spot for the first time in The Copenhagenize Index of bicycle-friendly cities.

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Bicycle riders queue at a red light in Copenhagen. Photo courtesy of Copenhagenize Design Co.

Bicycle riders queue at a red light in Copenhagen. Photo courtesy of Copenhagenize Design Co.

Copenhagenize Design Co. has teamed up with WIRED Magazine for the third edition of the only bi-annual international ranking of the world’s most bicycle-friendly cities: The Copenhagenize Index 2015 – Bicycle-friendly Cities.

2015 introduces a new leader to the list with Copenhagen bumping long-standing Amsterdam from the top spot. Among the reasons for Copenhagen’s surge to the top include the Danish capital’s impressively consistent investment in cycling as transportation, a uniform network of urban design for bicycles, clear leadership with the election of Morten Kabell as Mayor of the Technical & Environmental Administration (DoT), and, perhaps most notably, the city’s cycling modal share leap from 36 percent to 45 percent between 2012 and 2014. This 9 percent increase in such a short time has never happened anywhere. A surge that can be explained in great detail by Copenhagenize.

The reason for Amsterdam’s slip in ranking comes down to the will to do even better. According to the ranking criteria, the city is consistently maintaining a very impressive status quo for people on bikes, but the desire to improve is lacking.

Minneapolis, MN, is the first US city to break into the top 20, ranking at number 18 this year and two spots above the only other North American city in this group, Montreal, Quebec. Minneapolis’ rise is mostly attributed to a solid baseline score derived from the city’s impressive (for North America) modal share, its bike share system, and growing number of bikeways. Room for improvement remains as the city still lacks protected infrastructure, but the foundation, as noted by the ranking, is strong. New York City, NY; San Francisco, CA; Portland, OR; and Washington, DC, are making gains on the Midwestern city landing in the top 30 rankings while Chicago and Philadelphia move into the top 40.

To compile this list, the Copenhagenize team conducted a detailed investigation of 122 global cities using 13 indicators of bike-friendliness. These include the politics, advocacy, facilities, and infrastructure available for bicycle users with the possibility of bonus points awarded for exceptional activities.

“The bicycle makes sense in cities,” said Copenhagenize CEO Mikael Colville-Andersen. “Investment in bicycle infrastructure is a modern and intelligent move for a city to make. With rising urbanisation, our cities need modern mobility solutions and the bicycle proves time and again that it can offer results.”

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