A new bicycle cities index has ranked and rated 90 global cities to determine which city is best for bike riders and it comes as no surprise that European cities dominate the top 10.
The Bicycles Cities Index, created by insurance tech start up, Coya examined a number of factors that could impact how easy, attractive and convenient it is to ride a bike. These factors included crime and safety, connectivity and quality of infrastructure, bike sharing opportunities and special bike events including non-car days.
Weather conditions also served as an important factor in ranking the cities with hours of sunshine, rainfall and extreme weather days all impacting the final city ranking.
It will come a no surprise to many that Utrecht in the Netherlands came out on top as the best city in the world to be a bike rider.
With more than half of the city’s residents using bikes to get around, Utrecht is studied by future town planners across the globe. A connected, separated network of cycle paths, extensive bike parking and slow speeds all serve to make it a cycling haven.
Hangzhou in China was the only Asian city to make the top 10 coming in at number 7 with the remainder coming from Europe, specifically Germany, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland.
Each of the top 10 countries have made significant investment in dedicated infrastructure to encourage more people to ride.
Melbourne was the highest ranked Australian city at number 20, with Sydney the only other Australian city examined, coming in at 40.
Both Melbourne and Sydney scored well across fatalities and accidents per 100,000 cyclists and theft, ranking second and third respectively for Crime and Safety overall.
Both Australian cities lost scores across infrastructure categories including investment and road quality. Cities that separate people who ride from vehicles are best placed to maximize the health and sustainability benefits more people riding.
While small progress is being made, both Melbourne and Sydney have a long way to go before becoming a cycling mecca like the cities in Europe.
This index is a good way to illustrate the integrated approach our decision makers need to make to get more people riding.
While separated and connected infrastructure is incredibly important, it cannot be viewed in isolation. It is vital that we create environments, social norms and policy settings that encourage bike riding as a way to get around.