The 20 Most Bike-Friendly Cities on the Planet →

June 02, 2015 |

It’s a great day for bicycle fans out there, as the 2015 edition of the Copenhagenize Index, which ranks the top-20 most bicycle-friendly cities in the world, was published today. Mikael Colville-Andersen, CEO of Copenhagenize Design Co., wrote a great feature for Wired analyzing the results and explaining how the ranking system works:

You can read about our full methodology here, but the key to a top spot is clear. You need serious advocacy, bike facilities, social acceptance, and a general perception that cycling is safe. You get extra points for a higher modal percentage—the share of residents who get around by bike as opposed to car or public transit—and for a 50-50 gender split among cyclists.

Of course, infrastructure is key. In Denmark and the Netherlands, a set of rules has evolved over a century. Tried and tested and proven to work, this established best practice is the model for cities everywhere. It includes making protected, one-way bike lanes that aren’t shared by cars, buses, or pedestrians. It means designing streets to limit the number and speed of cars in city centers, making public spaces safe and welcoming for everyone, not just drivers.

This year’s results have been interesting. Focusing on Spain we have Seville, which was ranked an impressive 4th last year but goes down to the 10th position this year, followed in 11th place by Barcelona. These are the only two Spanish cities among the top 20 this year. Clearly, we can — and totally should — do better.