Trends in urban mobility come and go but one thing that has stood the test of time is the bicycle.
Bicycles have outlasted everything from autonomous cars to hoverboards and segways as the most practical, efficient, and reliable urban mobility solution.
It’s no surprise why many cities across the globe have continuously taken initiatives to build the best infrastructure for cyclists.
What Are the Most Bike Friendly Cities?
In this post, we look at the top bike-friendly cities across the globe based on the measures each city has taken to develop cyclist-friendly infrastructure.
So, without much ado here they are:
1. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen tops our list of the most bike-friendly cities for a good reason. The city has taken bike-friendly measures to ensure safety and convenience for bicycle users.
It’s no surprise that close to half of the residents of Copenhagen commute to and from work by bicycle. Studies show that 35% of workers in the city live in the suburbs and commute daily to work on bicycles with bicycle commuter backpacks on their shoulders. Copenhagen has over 242 miles of designated bicycle lanes.
The Greater Copenhagen area boasts of a Cycle Superhighway that links the city to the town of Albertslund with a lot of amenities for cyclists including air pumps and traffic lights with average bike speed to reduce stopping.
Copenhagen kids are even taught how to ride bicycles before they reach school-going age. A first-time visitor to Copenhagen will be blown away by the sheer number of bicycles in the city.
2. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is known for many things but it’s always recommended to take a bicycle tour to get the real feel of the city.
It’s even said that there are more than 800,000 bikes in Amsterdam, which basically implies that there are more bicycles than people in the city.
One of the key factors that make Amsterdam a top bike-friendly city is its flat streets and bike rental facilities. Almost everyone you meet in Amsterdam goes to work, school, or shopping on a bicycle with a basket.
There are even guided bicycle tours for visitors to help you get around and explore the city’s attractions quite easily.
3. Portland, Oregon
When it comes to bicycle-friendliness, you cannot beat European cities but Portland, Oregon, is doing a great job of making the city a great place for cyclists.
There have been significant improvements by the Portland Bureau of Transportation to help residents and visitors get around the city safely on bicycles.
In Portland, cyclists get free printed city maps and safety information to help them navigate easily in different neighborhoods of the city.
They even have a public bike rental system and other amenities such as bike lockers, guides, and bicycle riding classes.
4. Antwerp, Belgium
In the recent past, Antwerp has built on its bicycle infrastructure to become one of the most bike-friendly cities in Europe and the world.
The city’s most recent plans for cyclists include improving and connecting the existing cycling network with more intersection improvement, better traffic light management, and reducing speed limits on 95% of all streets to 18.6 mph.
Antwerp has also expanded its bicycle parking spaces in all train stations and adding more bicycle highways and connections to neighboring regions.
5. Tokyo, Japan
The city of Tokyo in Japan is also worth a mention in our list of the top bike-friendly cities in the world. Close to 14% of Tokyo commuters are bicycle riders.
The percentage of riders in Tokyo may not be as impressive as Copenhagen, which has 50% of its commuters on budget electric bikes, but keep in mind that Tokyo is a more densely populated city.
What makes Tokyo one of the most friendly cities is the availability of ample parking, plenty of bicycle paths, and exciting cycling tours all over the large city.
Japan also boasts of a reputation for making highly functional and durable bicycles, which is why bikes are among the most preferred methods of commuting in Tokyo.
6. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Rio has been building its infrastructure to accommodate cyclists for years. They began building bicycle lanes in 1992 which led to a growth in the number of people that get around the city on bikes.
The city has a bike-sharing program with over 600 bikes and 60 stations. A good example is Bike Rio which gives residents and visitors unlimited access to bicycles for a small monthly fee of R$10.00, which is equivalent to 2.50 US dollars.
You can easily and safely enjoy a weekend ride on the city’s beach avenues with wonderful views of the water.
7. Paris, France
Paris is an easy and safe place to get around on a bike. The city is known for its flat roads and slow traffic.
They also have a bike-sharing program known as Velib, which is actually the largest in the world with the exception of China. The name of the bike-sharing program is derived from two words, “velo” which means bike and “liberte” for freedom.
There are over 20,000 bikes for rent in 1,800 stations spread across the city and you can even use tandem bike attachments to ride along with your children. With the growing popularity of bikes, Paris has responded by creating and connecting more bikeways all over the busy city.
8. Boulder, Colorado
The good people of Boulder, Colorado, are known for their love of the great outdoors and use of cycling smartwatches, which is probably why cycling is a popular mode of transportation in and out of the city.
Boulder is one of the most friendly cities in the US related to bicycles. The city has 300 miles of bikeways which include designated bike routes, on-street bike lanes, paved road shoulders for bicycles, contraflow bike lanes, and multi-use paths that you can safely cycle on.
They even have a bike protection program to protect residents from bike theft.
9. Montreal, Canada
Canada has several bike-friendly cities too, including Montreal.
The city has an impressive 373 miles of cycling paths, which is actually twice as many as in Copenhagen – the biking capital of the world.
These designated bike paths in Montreal come to life in spring as cyclists come out to enjoy the views making pit stops at food and drink stands along the way. The city even holds a bike festival every year for cyclists of all ages.
10. Austin, Texas
Residents of Austin, Texas, have a strong commitment to living a cleaner and greener life, which is why they take pride in their biking lifestyle.
The city has hundreds of bike paths and bike racks for cyclists. You can easily get a cycling map of the city from any bike shop in Austin.
You can also navigate the downtown area via the city’s three main cycling paths namely the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, the Pfluger Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge, and the Rio Grande Roadway. The warm Texas weather is another incentive for cycling in Austin.
Europe has some of the most bike-friendly cities in the world but there are other impressive cities for cycling in North and South America including Portland, Austin, and Rio in Brazil just to mention a few.
The list of discussed above is by no means exhaustive because there are many more great cycling destinations across the world.
If you know of another bike-friendly city, please let us know in the comments below.