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Best places to cycle: there’s a formula for that

When it comes to cycling people seem to agree that Amsterdam and Copenhagen are the bike capitals of the world. Is it just an assumption or is there a way to actually determine it?

The Copenhagenize Index does just that: it gives cities marks for their bike-friendliness, using 13 parameters that take into account factors like cycling friendly infrastructure, cycling policy and bike sharing systems. One of the main goals of the index is to advocate for the benefits of urban cycling: for every kilometre cycled, said its creators, society enjoys a net profit of 23 cent.  

Copenhagen and Amsterdam are rivals when it comes to ranking high on the Copenhagenize Index. Both cities are virtually synonymous with cycling where almost a third of all daily journeys are by bike. Copenhagen’s recently most famous bike-friendly installations is the Cykelslangen (Bicycle Snake): an elevated ramp that crosses the harbour. There are plenty more bicycle bridges in the works and there is even an attempt to introduce bicycle travel times as the baseline for all traffic lights, as opposed to car travel times, which has long been the norm.
Amsterdam, on the other hand, is one of the world's model cycle-friendly cities. The city has a wide net of traffic-calmed streets and high-quality facilities for cyclists: bike paths and bike racks, and several guarded bicycle parking stations.  The bike paths (Fietspad) are red and therefore, they are well-differentiated from both the road ways and footpaths. No wonder that over 60% of trips are made by bike in the inner city! Amsterdam and other big cities in the Netherlands, have even designated “bicycle civil servants” whose job is to maintain and improve the network.

The popularity of cycling is growing these days and our cities need a totally new kind of infrastructure. We could learn a lot from Copenhagen and Amsterdam. 

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