The Most Bicycle-Friendly Cities in the World

If you’re looking for your next cycle holiday, look no further. Using the Global Bicycle Cities Index, we look into the best cities in the world for cycling. These cities offer great cycle routes and infrastructure, plus a culture that values and promotes cycling.

The index ranks cities based on six categories – weather, bicycle usage, infrastructure, bike sharing methods, cycle awareness events, and safety, and scores them out of 100.

Utrecht, The Netherlands

Utrecht tops the list of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world with a score of 77.84 out of 100.

Utrecht is the fourth-largest city in the Netherlands. It has an extensive cycle route throughout the city, and 98% of the city’s residents own a bike, with some households owning three or more. Around $55 million is spent every year to improve bike facilities, which include specialised cycle tracks and state-of-the-art bike parking. In fact, Utrecht has the largest bicycle parking lot in the world, located next to the train station and capable of holding 12,500 bikes.

One area in which Utrecht scores lower is bike-sharing facilities. However, this can be attributed to the number of residents that own their own bicyles, negating the need for a bike-sharing system.

Münster, Germany

Münster, in West Germany, comes in as the second-best bicycle-friendly city in the world, scoring 65.93 out of 100.

Münster is said to be the cycling capital of Germany, with over 100,000 people using a bike every day in the city. It’s thought that there are 500,000 bikes in the city, which would amount to nearly every resident owning two bikes. The city has a very low rate of deaths caused by cycling and regularly holds cycle-awareness events to promote biking.

The city has over 450 km of cycle paths, plus 225 km of cycle routes off the main roads. To show its dedication to cycling, Münster also has a number of routes dedicated to cycling, where bikes take precedence over car traffic.

Antwerp, Belgium

Antwerp is ranked third in the world’s most bicycle-friendly cities, with a score of 60.51 out of 100.

Antwerp is the largest city in Belgium and has over 500 km of cycle routes through the city. It has a large bike-sharing system, with 300 stations across Antwerp and 4,200 bicycles. When using bike sharing, the first 30 minutes of the journey is free. There is also a large bicycle parking garage located under the train station.

Antwerp has a relatively good level of bike safety, with a low number of bike thefts every year. It also hosts car-free days regularly to promote the benefits of cycling in the city.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen comes in fourth place in the best cities in the world for cycling, with a score of 60.46 out of 100.

Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and the most populated city in the country. It’s estimated that there are more bicycles in the city than residents, and nearly half use a bike every day to commute, up from 35% a decade ago.

Copenhagen has over 400 km of cycle paths through the city and has pledged further investment into improving the cycling infrastructure.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam ranks fifth in the world’s most bicycle-friendly cities with a score of 60.24 out of a possible 100.

Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands and the most populated city in the country. It is, perhaps, one of the most famous cities for bicycle culture and has great biking infrastructure, plus the benefit of a relatively flat terrain for easy cycling. The city has around 515 km of cycle routes throughout the city, plus guarded bike storage garages.

The reason why Amsterdam only comes in fifth place even with its cycling-friendly reputation could be partly due to bike theft. It’s estimated that over 200 bikes are stolen every day.

Malmö, Sweden

Malmö comes in sixth place in the ranking for the world’s most bicycle-friendly cities, with a score of 55.88 out of 100.

Malmö is the third-largest city in Sweden, located on the south-west coast. It has around 515 km of cycle paths and, like Amsterdam, a relatively flat terrain across the city. Malmö aims to keep cyclists safe by providing separated, or protected cycle paths, so cyclists are not alongside cars.

Around 40% of residents use a bike to commute every day, with many continuing to bike even in the harsher winter weather. Malmö has great cycling facilities, with plenty of dedicated bike parking and storage at both commercial and residential properties.

Hangzhou, China

Hangzhou ranks seventh in the world’s most bicycle-friendly cities, scoring 52.55 out of a possible 100. It’s the only non-European city to rank in the top eight.

Hangzhou, in eastern China, is the capital and most populated city of the Zhejiang province. One of the reasons it scores so highly in this ranking is due to its extensive and popular bike-sharing system that has been present in the city of over 14 years.

The Hangzhou Public Bicycle, also known as the “red bikes”, was the first bike-sharing facility in China. It’s one of the largest bike-sharing systems in the world and has over 3,700 stations throughout the city with over 175,000 bikes. The first hour of every journey can be taken free of charge.

Bern, Switzerland

Bern comes in eighth place on the ranking of best countries for cycling, with a score of 48.76 out of 100.

Bern, in Switzerland, claims to be a paradise for cyclists and is aiming to be the cycling capital of the country. The city has an extensive cycle network, with wide cycle paths to allow for easy and safe overtaking. There is also a large bike-sharing system and bike renting opportunities, offering a variety of bike types, such as traditional bicycle, e-bike or mountain bike.

Remember your travel insurance when you’re planning your next cycling holiday. Expatriate Group provides flexible international travel insurance for all nationalities, travelling nearly anywhere in the world. Decide your next destination from our list of best cycling cities, or get convenient annual multi trip travel insurance and travel to each location. Get a quote today.

Related News