The “bicycling capital of Europe” tops many lists—including this one, it seems—out of all bicycle friendly cities anywhere, Amsterdam takes the cake. Safe and extensive route networks, serious governmental promotion, and a bike culture that transcends class boundaries are all reasons why 40% of the city’s traffic moves on two wheels.
Barcelona’s Biking program, one of many mass bike rental systems that have popped up recently in Europe and beyond, debuted two years ago, and the Catalan capital hasn’t looked back. An annual Bike Week is held in late May to spread the word.
Bicycle Commuting Berliners are never lonely—400,000 of them pedal to work each day. City leaders still aren’t satisfied with this figure, and millions of euros have been allocated to encourage more cyclists to take to the streets.
In the Danish capital, nearly a third of the workforce gets to the office by bike. By some estimates, that’s more than 1 million kilometers pedaled every day!
For a truly alternative urban experience, check out Christiania, a neighborhood of 850 that, in addition to setting up a semi-independent government and decriminalizing trade in cannabis, has banned cars.
Paris gets a nod here for its creation of Vélib’, the world’s largest public bicycle rental program. Twenty thousand stylish three-speeds are distributed among 1,450 rental stations throughout the city, available to subscribers at variable rates (rides under 30 minutes are free).
Denver’s little hippy bro to the north dedicates 15% of its transportation budget to improving and promoting bicycle travel. Nearly every major roadway has a designated cycling area, and they’ve even instituted a pilot program to get kids biking to school. This guy has created a very cool color-coded route map, complete with local attractions.
Mayor Richard Daley is set on turning Chicago into “the most bicycle-friendly city in the United States.” It doesn’t appear to be all talk, either, as more bike lanes pop up all the time, and last year the city passed laws to protect cyclists’ safety.
All you could ever want to know about Chicago’s bicycle initiatives—and much more—can be found here.
It’s said that there are more bikes than cars in this small, northern California city of 62,000. Not only that, but its official motto is “Most bicycle friendly town in the world.” The entire month of May is dedicated to Cyclebration…and the list goes on.
The States may have its bright spots, but the fact remains that Canada’s capital claims the highest percentage of bike commuters on the continent. Its 170 km worth of paths make it easy to get from point A to B, though two-wheeled traffic is sure to drop between December and March. Further info is available here.
You were worried there for a second, weren’t you? No, I haven’t forgotten what most people consider the bike capital of the U.S. The only thing as impressive as Portland’s bicycle infrastructure (including a 260-mile network) and commuter stats (almost 10%, the highest in the country) is the camaraderie of its cyclist community.
The founding city of the Critical Mass bicycle demonstration can’t be overlooked. Over the past decade, bicycle collisions have declined while the number of bike commuters has nearly doubled.
Add San Francisco’s constant activities like removing car parking to make room for bike parking, distributing Watch for Bikes stickers (to be placed on driver’s side rearview mirrors), and its pending Bike Share program and you get one of the world’s best bicycle friendy cities.
Debatable? Sure. But the city with probably the most bicycles of any in the world can’t be considered bike unfriendly, can it?
The sheer number of cyclists necessitates some pretty sophisticated infrastructure for the travel, storage, and repair of two-wheeled vehicles.
African cities might not be the first you think of for bike friendliness, but Cape Town is doing its best to change that.
The South African capital is in the process of beefing up its pedal-power credentials with the creation of cycling lanes, dedicated bike parking, and public commuter showers.
Bogotá’s transportation initiatives have been a model for change throughout Latin America, and its treatment of bicycles is no exception. Miles of safe, segregated bike paths and Sunday Ciclovía events (where main throughways are closed to cars) make Colombian cyclists very happy.
With more than 700 km of bike routes and plenty to see along them, Australia’s fourth largest city is where it’s at for Down Under saddle jockeys.