Sometimes, we need a step back to move forward. Climate change, pollution, and congestion in cities are some of the problems that are brought about and aggravated by too many cars on our streets. Different cities are now taking initiatives to improve modes of transportation and be car-free and one alternative is to promote cycling. This results in a healthier and better environment where people are prioritised.
The top ten list is mostly dominated by European cities. The highest-ranked US city is San Francisco which is at the 39th place. This is surprisingly low and reflects a situation in the US where most people still prefer to use cars and public transportation and other infrastructure are very lacking. Auckland, New Zealand and Hangzhou, China are the only non-European cities in the top 10. The rankings above are based and analyzed on several factors itemised below:
Some cities are blessed with weather ideal for biking. Some are not. This factor is a huge contributor to a city being bicycle-friendly. However, this isn’t something that can be controlled. With this, cities should focus more on the succeeding factors which are actionable.
Crime & Safety
A high amount of bicycle-related deaths and accidents paints an ugly picture when it comes to being bicycle-friendly. If cities want to make their roads more appealing for bikers, they need to make sure that their roads are safe. Cycling facilities needs to be integrated well and connected with the city. Regular road safety audits and inspection must be in place to ensure the safety of bikers.
Another huge contributor for a city’s bicycle-friendliness can be attributed to infrastructure. Segregating bike lanes—with bollards, curbs, or raised tracks—can create safer conditions and encourage more people to use bikes. The following infrastructural modifications will encourage more to ditch their cars and go for bikes:
- Increased number of bicycle shops
- High-quality roads with dedicated bicycle lanes
- Increased investments towards infrastructure
Sharing & Rental Stations
Not everyone can invest in a bike. The presence of bicycle sharing and rental stations will make bikes accessible for everyone. This will also encourage citizens to go for bikes instead of cars or cabs if they quickly need to go from one place to another.
Events like car-free days will promote and spread awareness about the good impact of using bicycles. Investing on events similar to this is another step nearer to being bicycle-friendly.