What’s the best city in the world for cycling: new study ranks the contenders

Northern Europe dominates the list of 90 cities

cycling commuter traffic light netherlands
Photo: Flickr/Carlos PArdo
(Image credit: Flickr/Carlos Pardo)

Insurance tech firm Coya has crunched the numbers to come up with a worldwide ranking of the best cities for cycling.

The Bicycle Cities Index is compiled based on a range of stats, which includes:

  1. Bicycle theft rates.
  2. Numbers of cyclist fatalities and accidents.
  3. Investment in infrastructure like specialised bicycle lanes.
  4. Percentage of bicycle usage.
  5. Figures on the sharing economy, like the number of bicycle rental stations and rental bikes available.
  6. City cycling-friendly events like ‘No Car Day’ and ‘Critical Mass’

With its excellent cycling infrastructure, it’s not really a surprise that the Netherlands comes out strongly, with Utrecht coming out on top. Coya points out that high bicycle usage correlates with a higher overall ranking. It’s followed by Munster in Germany, then Antwerp in Belgium, Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

Amsterdam comes out well for cycling
(Image credit: www.timeincukcontent.com)

Commenting on the findings, Andrew Shaw, Founder of Coya, says: “The fact that the top three cities are in northern Europe reflects the notion that cycling is a way of life in those countries, which has clearly had an impact on the amount of money they’ve invested in it.

“It’s an encouraging representation of the efforts city officials make to improve cycling conditions, and proves that government investment in safety and infrastructure ultimately pays off.”

In the UK, Bristol comes out on top, ranking 17th of the 90 cities in the world index. That’s despite its extensive range of hills to tax the rider. London comes in 62nd.

There are some other interesting stats to emerge from the study.

If you’re worried about your bike being nicked, then try moving to Singapore or Seoul. At the other end of the theft scale is Johannesburg, which also gets the lowest ranking for number of cycling fatalities. Germany is the safest country to cycle in, with seven cities in the top ten.

And good weather does not correlate with cycle usage: Coya reckons that Los Angeles has the best weather for cycling, followed by Casablanca and San Francisco, but they come in 56th, 42nd and 39th respectively.

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