What is the most bicycle-friendly city?

Where is the most cycling city? Where do we feel the most secure as cyclists? Where are the best bicycle paths? In which city does the use of bike exceed the use of car? On which classification is it based on? How difficult is it to find an answer, when we ask ourselves the truthfulness of bicycle cities data, and when we know that we cannot really compare one city to another!


However, we can take an interest in the official ranking of Copenhagenize, an urban consultancy specialized in cycling, who tries to meet the challenge by publishing every other year its global TOP bicycle-friendly cities. The Danish agency directs its study towards the importance of cycling in town, its infrastructure for the urban network developement and its self-service bicycle stations.

This global TOP is a non-governmental study but it has been taken up and made public during the Velo-city 2017, the Global Cycling Summit of Nijmegen, in the Netherlands.

 So which city is the most bicycle-friendly city?

“Not surprising” you will say… The most bicycle-friendly city is Copenhagen! Well-know for its strong evolution in terms of cycling facilities with about 134 million euros invested during the last ten years, Copenhagen gets more urban cyclists than car drivers! Indeed 62% of its inhabitants cycle every day to go to work, a very good rate compared to the 9% of car users!

The Danish capital thus remains in the top 3 of the world most bicycle-friendly cities; In the Copenhagenize Index 2015, the Denmark capital ranked in second place. What a success!

Copenhagen is followed closely by the Dutch cities of Utrecht and Amsterdam which occupy the other two steps of the podium.

Utrecht is one of the smallest cities in Copenhagenize ranking but it impresses with the diversity of its cycling facilities and notably the development of the country’s longest bike street (3, 7 miles). A serious investment that puts Utrecht in second place!

Meanwhile, Amsterdam lost two places by ending in the third place. The winner of the Copenhagenize Index 2015  is “penalized” by the lack of innovation in the development of its cycling network. A stagnation in its evolution notably marked by an increase of the number of scooters on its streets (8,000 in 2007 compared to 35,000 in 2016), endangering the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. However, Amsterdam remains remarkable for its various bicycle facilities and infrastructures, being one of the first bicycle friendly cities in the world!

French cities ranking

In France, it’s nice to live in Strasbourg, ranking at the 4th place of the top 20! The Alsatian capital has long been one of the main bicycle towns in France. Today it stands out from other cities with it’s 16% of bicycle commuters, also due to the increasing amount of public bicycles in the streets!

Three other French cities are classified in the ranking: Bordeaux in 6th place; Compared to 2015, Paris goes up by 4 places to be 13th and Nantes drops by 7 places and finishes 16th. 

The complete ranking

Here is the top 20 of Copenhagenize’s “bicycle-friendly cities”:

  1. Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. Utrecht, Netherlands
  3. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  4. Strasbourg, France
  5. Malmö, Sweden
  6. Bordeaux, France
  7. Antwerp, Belgium
  8. Ljubljana, Slovenia
  9. Tokyo, Japan
  10. Berlin, Germany
  11. Barcelona, Spain
  12. Vienna, Austria
  13. Paris, France
  14. Seville, Spain
  15. Munich, Germany
  16. Nantes, France
  17. Hamburg, Germany
  18. Helsinki, Finland
  19. Oslo, Norway
  20. Montréal, Quebec

Find the precise description of each cycling city on copenhagenize.eu



Last updated on July 28, 2017

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