Most cities offer you a chance to explore it on two wheels, but some are pushing this agenda further and harder. In the following cities, cyclists can relax, enjoy their ride in a safe and pleasant way and get from point A to point B quickly.
If we look at the numbers, it’s easy to see why Copenhagen is at the top of this list. Over 60% of inhabitants use bikes to go to work or school. Citizens of Denmark’s capital cycle almost 900,000 miles every day, and we can see more than $45 per capita in bicycle infrastructure investments. There are four bicycle bridges in the city, and some are yet to be built. And as we managed to see in the 2018 elections, parties pushing pro-car agendas don’t do well. Great municipal spending imposed by the national government boost infrastructure expansion, and they will continue to do so in the future.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The Dutch capital is always setting an example of how a city can slip yet pull itself back up when it comes to progress. While falling behind in the past few years, the city now has a new plan for 2022 to improve bicycle paths and parking. With 11,000 new people living in Amsterdam every year, it has a plan to create “royal routes” for the increasing number of cyclists. To reduce rush-hour stress, existing routes are being widened to more than 8 feet, creating more low-speed cycling streets and allowing more protected cycling spaces for all users.
Sure, it might have taken the authorities 40 years to have a car-free Central Park, but now, this iconic park has over 6 miles of bicycle routes. There are many bike rentals around so cyclists in New York are really embracing this hobby. Today, you can rent various models of bikes at different locations throughout the city. And don’t worry about safety—the protected bike lane mileage is also increasing.
New York now has a few intersection projects in mind to keep cyclists safe (these intersections are where people usually get hurt). Right now, there are 50 intersections where bikes go first while cars have to wait. This gives cyclists a few extra seconds to enter traffic and be more visible to drivers.
Parisians used to be reliant on shared bus+bike lanes which made up the largest part of the cycling network, but today, the city is finally investing in dedicated cycle tracks that include all protected facilities. This shift put Paris on the map of the best cities for cyclists. Even though they faced strong opposition, local politicians managed to open new facilities and achieve impressive results. Thanks to their efforts, cyclists are representing 30% of traffic on the Rue Rivoli, and more children and adults are riding their bikes every day.
Sure, this city can’t be proud of its modest investments when it comes to on-street cycling infrastructure, but Vienna always manages to stand out from the competition by employing innovative solutions and efforts. In 2018, a #whydontYOUcycle? campaign used relatable people and easy-to-read graphics to remove all common excuses from people’s heads. All Vienna’s competitors on this list could learn from campaigns like this one!
Tokyo emerged as a great cycling city not thanks to official planning, campaigns or infrastructure, but thanks to its people. This metropolis has millions of cyclists using their two-wheelers for commuting, transporting goods and riding kids to school and back. Tokyo is one of the best cycling cities, but it can become even better with more innovations.
If you’re a cyclist, you must push your local authorities to look into these model cities and make your rides better, safer and more efficient. We should all aspire to live in cities that love their cyclists and worry about the environment.