Many cities have taken the green route by building more bicycle infrastructure and improving facilities to accommodate bicycle as a daily mode of transportation.
These are the best cycling cities in the world based on biker friendliness, infrastructure, and aesthetics.
It has been said that there are more bikes than people in Amsterdam. The best way to experience this city is on a bicycle. The streets are often filled with bicycles: people using them to get to work, shop, and dropping children at school. Tourists can go around exploring by renting a bicycle since there are plenty of bikes for rent.
The city is all for continuous development by looking into more ways to improve flow and lessen congestion. An ambitious new plan for 2022 is in the pipeline that aims on refining bicycle parking and existing bicycle infrastructure. The city is set on creating royal routes to accommodate more bicycles, especially with the rising 11,000 new inhabitants each year. To reduce stress during rush hours, they’re widening existing cycle tracks to more than eight feet, building more low-speed cycle streets, and redesigning major intersections to allow for more protected cycling space.
Bikes actually outnumber cars here in this Scandinavian city. 62% of the people here bike to work. Being a bike-friendly city, it hasn’t stopped looking for new ways to improve current infrastructure, and investing in new ones. Plans are in the pipeline for bike bridges to cycle super highways. Four bicycle bridges and one hundred and four miles of new regional cycle highways being built or under construction.
Portland is ambitious: it trying its best to beat Europe in the bicycle-friendliness arena. It is even starting to get that European city vibe, according to Brian Zeck, the bike manager of Portland’s River City Bicycles. In a chat with Mr. Zeck, the groundwork for the city’s bike infrastructure was laid out over 20 years ago. The Portland Bureau of Transportation is putting enhancements in place, aiming to aid citizens and tourists alike safely get around bicycles. People can avail of free printed city and neighborhood maps, and other relevant information needed to help in better navigation around the area. Their public bike rental system is considered as one of the greenest in the world by cutting down the need for extra kiosks and making use of pre-existing bike corrals.
Being home to the longest bike street in the country at six kilometers long, Utrecht is devoted and invested in bicycle modernization in the past few years. The city is even planning to build 33,000 parking spots for bikes at the Central Station, and targeted to be operational by 2020. It has also introduced this pop-up parking innovation for bikes and a speed detection system. The digital kiosks read each cyclist’s speed, and help them in determining whether they should speed up or slow down to be able to catch the next traffic light.
Strasbourg has long been recognized as France’s premier bicycle city. It has proved to be the benchmark for French cities, having maintained its lofty status by setting its sights beyond a centralized urban cycling network. The city’s new bicycle strategy focuses its efforts on boosting newbie riders, putting a coherent network of bicycle superhighways, radial routes to suburbs and neighboring towns, and improving the existing network.
There’s plenty to see in this historic city with over 500 miles of bike paths. The city’s flat terrain, wide streets, and numerous bikeways are a biker’s haven. The cycling paths make it easy to get around without worrying about car traffic. Themed tours for tourists, often geared towards sports or food, are a plenty. The city prioritizes its cyclists, and motorists, and pedestrians are only happy to cooperate, especially with Volksentscheid Fahrrad (bicycle referendum) forcing the Senate to build a friendlier city for bicycles.
The city is, and remains Belgium’s most attractive city for cyclists, having built upon its well-established reputation as a bicycle-friendly city over the past 2 years. They have an impressive bicycle parking space at the main train station and other busy stations. Their network of cycle paths aim to improve and connect the cycling network through improvements in the city’s intersections, promote low volume traffic, and lowering the speed limits to 30 km/h (18.6 mph) on most of its streets. The city is definitely well on its way to significantly encouraging more cyclists, and becoming one of the most modern bicycle-friendly cities in Europe.
The 2nd largest city in Canada is one of the most European cities in North America. The city is teeming with French building design and language. It’s easy to explore the mostly flat city with over 1,000 miles of bike paths and 5,000 total bike rentals. The city also hosts a bike festival each year. Bikers of all ages and skill levels gather together to go exploring around the town.
Though Asia isn’t particularly known for being a friendly continent to urban bikers, the largest metropolis in the world is the exception and could easily be one of the best on the planet. Urban cyclists, who are about 14% of all commuters in Tokyo, can enjoy ample parking, lots of bike paths, and cycling tours. Another neat tidbit about Japan: they are known for making wonderfully constructed bicycles that stand the test of time.
The capital of Argentina is the most visited city in South America. It is has nearly 200 miles of bike paths, thanks to its several recent improvements. With its free bike rentals and streets soothingly lined with palm trees, the city’s colorful energy is best explored on bike.
Barcelona is new to the race of making its city a more hospitable spot for bikers. They have been continually expanding their system of bike paths. Their bike share program is one of the most frequently used in the world. They have made bicycle safety a priority by putting measures designed to slow car traffic. For tourists, there are a number of different bike tours you can sign up for, and plenty of scenic paths to explore.
This city is of flat terrain, compact, and screams Renaissance. It’s also one of the best cities to explore on bike. With more than 150 miles of bike lanes, the cars are not allowed in the city center. It's only for to pedestrians, cyclists, and a few electric taxis. The cycling population enjoys more than 20 bike rental stations. The first 30 minutes are free.
The City of Love is easy to go exploring on a bike, thanks to flat roads, slow traffic, and conscientious drivers. The city’s bike-sharing program is the largest in the world, not counting China. There are about 20,000 rental bikes accessible at 1800 stations all over the city. Bikeways have begun to pop up all over the bustling city since the introduction of the bike-sharing program in 2007.
This city is breathtaking, considered one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. It’s a great place to go around by bike, with more than 275 miles of well-maintained bike paths. Rent one of 4,000 bicycles from Bike Rio scattered in more than 400 stations throughout the city for a little more than a dollar a day.
Seville is a rising star in the battle to be the bicycle friendliest city in Europe. The city offers 160 kilometers (100 miles) of bike paths, and a whooping 70,000 bicycles plying the streets daily. It’s quickly becoming apparent how much determination the city has put into increasing their cycling masses, comparing to the measly 6000 bicycles that were being used a few years ago. Their bike-sharing program, Sevici, has been running for 8 years now. According to bike shop owners, there has been a spike in demand as more and more residents have taken to biking as a mode of transportation.
Dublinbikes, the city’s bike-sharing program, boasts of more than 100 stations across the city. An annual subscription to this program costs just €20 (about $22). In addition to that, a number of tour companies in Dublin offer guided excursions too, designed for both beginner and advanced bike enthusiasts.
Residents of Budapest can currently get around town on 200 kilometers (124 miles) of cycling paths, which bring riders through the center city or in and around its many stunning parks. The city also offers a number of guided tours, including one that gives a free bowl of ghoulash in the end of the tour.
One can tell that the city is steadfast in helping its residents go green through their biking programs. There are plenty of paths and hundreds of bike racks for riders to use. For tourists who are keen on exploring, they can easily get a cycling map from one of the town’s many bike shops, and then hit the pathways. They can check out the 3 major paths to help riders navigate downtown namely: The Lance Armstrong Bikeway, the Rio Grande Roadway, and the Pfluger Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge.
The people in this city have a reputation for being outdoor lovers. It is only natural that cycling is a popular way to get around the city’s 300 miles of bikeways, including on-street bike lanes, contra-flow bike lanes, designated bike routes, paved shoulders, multi-use paths, and soft-surface paths. They also launched a bike registration program to curb bicycle theft.
The city continues to innovate and maintain the bicycle as a high priority for transportation planning in the city. During the last two years, they started banning cars from the historic Pont de Pierre bridge. The move resulted in a 20% increase in bicycle traffic. Its leaders’ strong political will has proven to be a good factor in making Bordeaux a city to watch for in France, with the administration continuing the removal of car space for a better and greener transport option.
Among American cities, Portland and Seattle are known for being awesome biker cities, but neither can compare to San Francisco in regards to iconic views, weather, history, culture, and its famous hills. The city has invested more than 100 million dollars in cycling infrastructure over the last decade, with more than 200 miles of bike lanes today. Blessed with mild temperatures all year round, everyday seems a good day to take in the cable cars, winding streets, and magnificent harbor views on two wheels.
The city has really pushed urban pedaling and the use of cargo bikes in everyday life in the most recent years. An example of how the city is trying to make connections would be the new bicycle ferry to Copenhagen. Cykelhuset, a residential building there, has been opened where the bicycle is pushed as the main form of transport, and inhabitants can go about their everyday lives minus a car. A newly built bicycle hotel is another sign that Malmo’s got the spot as the most bike-friendly region of Skåne in southern Sweden.
The city is one shining example on having no excuses to using bikes for all cities that have ever said they are too hilly or snowy to take bicycles as a mode of transport. Its leaders have made a bold move in 2017 to ban cars from the inner city. In doing so, they have managed to ease the traffic while removing over 1,000 car parking spots between 2017 and 2018 for better biking and walking. For it to become a truly bicycle-friendly city in the future, Oslo must continue full steam ahead with its commitments and investments in bicycle programs.
The Finnish capital is embarking on an ambitious goal— to be the world’s best metropolis for sustainable transport. The city has over 800 miles of bicycle infrastructure and 12 miles of cycle highways, with another 87 miles in the making. They had set its sights on bicycle modal share target of 15 percent by 2020. They could very well be on their way of achieving their plan on becoming a northern leader, especially now that the city is bent on targeting important corridors in the central core for a bicycle-oriented facelift like Hämeentie, a major boulevard to be reconstructed by 2020.
This charming city continues with its humble investments in urban cycling infrastructure by building on its strengths. Other cities could learn a thing or two when they launched this innovative and constructive communication efforts and policy through 2018 campaign, #warumfährstDUnicht? (#whydontYOUcycle?) featuring relatable people and fresh graphic design. With continued significant investments in safe and reliable cycling infrastructure, Vienna’s effort should pay off.
This city has an expanding network of physically separated cycle tracks, and a pioneering bicycle district concept. This North German city has 418 miles of physically separated cycle tracks. Its residents can count on the bicycle as a convenient mode of transportation for everyday trips.
Taiwan has earned the title “the bicycle kingdom”, having long been the manufacturing center for the cycling industry. It was only recently that it started entertaining the idea of using their main export as a natural choice for urban transport. The city has been really gaining momentum in the most recent years with the launching of the successful YouBike bike share scheme in 2009. They have also started the building of cycling infrastructure networks, becoming the first Asian city to host Velo-City Conference in 2016. With plans for tripling bike lanes in the city center by the end of the year in the works, Taipei rises to cement its place as one of the bicycle-friendliest city in Asia.
Just like Montreal, this laid-back metropolis is one of the few North American cities to push the limitations and steadily transform over the past the years when it comes to bicycle modernization. Things are shaping up nicely as current leaders have made a resolute effort to focus on bicycles as a mode of transport, encouraging bikers of all ages to participate. Vancouver has been adding and improving its protected downtown bicycle network every year, prioritizing major street corridors and heavy traffic bridges despite its protests and loud public outcry.
With a car-congested metropolis bulking under poor air quality, you got to take your hat off to Bogota for trying. This South American city is the leader for people and bicycle-focused initiatives. Ciclovía, a weekly Sunday activity that closes over 60 miles of city streets to cars for citizens to romp around on foot or by bike, is becoming popular and should be emulated by other cities.
Cycling continues to rise as the most efficient, practical, and reliable solution to traffic and mobility in the urban jungle. Not only it is a fun way to reduce your carbon footprint, it allows you incorporate that simple feeling of exhilaration into your daily grind, just like your fond childhood memories of riding your bike around your neighborhood.
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