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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Top Twenty Cycling Cities in the World


According to the 2012 Copenhagenize Index, two of the best cycling cities in the world are here in Japan. Kyoto, however, did not make the cut.

Copenhagenize Design Co., which is a consulting firm that specializes in "bicycle promotion, research & marketing and liveable cities," is connected to the Copenhagenize blog, which is run by Mikael Colville-Andersen.

The ranking is based on points awarded for multiple criteria:

1. advocacy
2. bicycle culture (the use of bikes for transport by the general public rather than a marginal group)
3. bicycle infrastructure and facilities, meaning dedicated road space for cyclists
4. the presence or absence of a bike share
5. program and how widely such a program is used
6. ratio of male to female cyclists
7. modal share for bicycles and modal share increase since 2006
8. perception of safety
9. politics
10. social acceptance
11. attention given by planners to bicycle infrastructure
12. traffic calming

Before getting to the list, here is CycleKyoto's take on where Kyoto would fare well - and not - on the above criteria.

There is little advocacy in the city. Bicycle culture however is deep and profound, ubiquitous and understood. Other than parking, infrastructure is limited. There is a tiny bike share program. Men and women cycle in equal numbers. Politicians could care less about bicycles. Social acceptance is high. Planners? In the city's construction ministry there is a small department devoted to bikes.

Here is the "Best 20" list:

1. Amsterdam
2. Copenhagen
3. Urecht
4. Seville
5. Bordeaux
5. Antwerp
5. Nantes
6. Eindhoven
7. Malmo
8. Berlin
9. Dublin
10. Tokyo
11. Montreal
11. Nagoya
11. Munich
12. Rio de Janeiro
13. Barcelona
13. Budapest
14. Paris
14. Hamburg

Time to gripe.

Montreal is justifiably included, but not a single other North American city makes the list? Can anyone with a straight face tell us that Portland or Seattle or Davis or Boulder is not a better place to cycle than, say, Rio or even Paris?

Second, Nagoya?! The city has wide boulevards made for one thing: the cars produced by and in nearby Toyota. The city is a car town. It is 1950s Detroit on steroids. There are a few truncated bike lanes in central Nagoya, but is this a joke?

Tokyo?! Better than Munich? We enjoin the Danes who created this list to get out and actually cycle the megalopolis. We predict they would flee, tail between legs, back on the next flight to Copenhagen within 24 hours.

By nearly every possible metric, Kyoto and Osaka and Hiroshima are much better for cycling than Nagoya and Tokyo.


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