London only 62nd most cycling-friendly city in the world

English capital scores poorly in index that ranks 90 cities from around the world - Utrecht tops the chart

Cyclists in London
(Image credit: Getty Images)

London has ranked 62nd in a new global index measuring the most bicycle-friendly locations in the world, while Utrecht in the Netherlands topped the survey.

The study, conducted by Paris-based digital insurance firm Luko, selected 90 cities from across the globe and analysed them on six main factors. These included bicycle usage, weather conditions, quality of infrastructure, bicycle sharing schemes, crime figures and special events. 

A weighted average was then calculated to give each city a final score between 1 and 100. 

The English capital recorded a score of 29.72, with the study reporting that just two per cent of Londoners regularly rely on bicycles to get around. 

Another factor that contributed to the city’s low ranking was its high incidence of bike theft. In March, Cycling Weekly obtained data using the Freedom of Information Act that revealed that, in the five-year period between 2017 and 2021, a bicycle was reported stolen in London every 16 minutes. Arrests were made in just 2.5 per cent of cases. 

Elsewhere in the UK, Bristol took 15th place in the index, while Edinburgh ranked eight places ahead of London in 54th. 

According to the study, the world’s top cycling location is Utrecht in the Netherlands. The city, which played host to the start of this year’s Vuelta a España, achieved a score of 77.84 in the index to comfortably take the number one spot ahead of German city Munster and Antwerp in the north of Belgium. 

Utrecht scored the highest of the 90 cities for use percentage, with 51 per cent of the population opting for bicycles as a mode of transport. The city was also commended for its existing infrastructure, which counts 420km of bicycle paths and the world’s largest bicycle parking garage, located within the railway station. 

The Danish capital of Copenhagen, which laid on the festivities for the Grand Départ of the Tour de France last month, narrowly missed a podium place in the rankings. 

Only one US city made the index’s top 40, with San Francisco ranking 39th, two places above Portland and 11 ahead of Seattle.

Below are the top 20 best cities in the world for cyclists, as judged by Luko’s Global Bicycle Cities Index, and the scores they achieved. 

  1. Utrecht - Netherlands - 77.84
  2. Munster - Germany - 65.93
  3. Antwerp - Belgium - 60.51
  4. Copenhagen - Denmark - 60.46
  5. Amsterdam - Netherlands -60.24
  6. Malmo - Sweden - 55.88
  7. Hangzhou - China - 52.55
  8. Bern - Switzerland - 48.76
  9. Bremen - Germany - 47.81
  10. Hannover - Germany - 46.7
  11. Strasbourg - France - 45.45
  12. Bordeaux - France - 45.42
  13. Hamburg - Germany - 44.97
  14. Leipzig - Germany - 44.25
  15. Bristol - United Kingdom - 43.76
  16. Montreal - Canada - 43.68
  17. Nuremberg - Germany - 43.62
  18. Innsbruck - Austria - 43.12
  19. Berlin - Germany - 42.59
  20. Melbourne - Australia - 42.54

The full rankings are available here.

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