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Montreal #1 in North America and Amsterdam #1 Globally – Bike-Friendly Cities Ranked Worldwide

by John Symon

May 06, 2013 (Copenhagen, Denmark) – An international ranking of “bicycle-friendly” cities has just been published by Copenhagenize Design Co, giving top marks to Amsterdam (83%), followed closely by Copenhagen (81%). Montreal (58%), tying with Nagoya and Munich for eleventh place worldwide is the top-ranked city in North America and a close second behind Tokyo (59%) as the top-ranked city outside of Europe. No other Canadian or U.S. cities made the top 14 spots. Rio de Janeiro (56%), in 12th spot, was the highest ranked South American city.

“In 2013 – and from now on – we ranked 150 cities around the world in order to hammer out this list of the world’s most bicycle-friendly cities,” reads text posted at the Copenhagenize website. “In addition, we enlisted the help of over 400 individuals through our network on Twitter and on our blog to help us rank the cities. Having eyes and ears on the ground in all of these cities is instrumental in being able to bring you an even more comprehensive ranking.”

“We would like to thank the people who helped us with the Index. Among them are many urban planners, architects, politicians, bicycle advocates and regular citizens who use bicycles on their urban landscape.”

“At Copenhagenize Design Co. we were all involved in the making of this Index. In particular, thanks to these members of our team: Meredith Glaser in Amsterdam, Mikael Colville-Andersen, Pedro Madruga, Mary Hudson Embry, Rachel Om for their hard work and passion. Thanks to James Schwartz in Toronto for his fantastic help in developing the ranking system.”

The rankings are based on 13 categories, including:

1.      Advocacy:  How is the city’s (or region/country) advocacy NGO(s) regarded and what level of influence does it have?

2.      Bicycle Culture: Has the bicycle re-established itself as transport among regular citizens or only sub-cultures?

3.      Bicycle Facilities: Are there readily accessible bike racks, ramps on stairs, space allocated on trains and buses and well-designed way finding, etc?

4.      Bicycle Infrastructure: How does the city’s bicycle infrastructure rate?

5.      Bike Share Programme: Does the city have a comprehensive and well-used bike-sharing programme?

6.      Gender Split: What percentage of the city’s cyclists are male and female?

7.      Modal Share For Bicycles: What percentage of modal share is made up by cyclists?

8.      Modal Share Increase Since 2006: What has the increase in modal share been since 2006 – the year that urban cycling started to kick off?

9.      Perception of Safety: Is the perception of safety of the cyclists in the city, reflected in helmet-wearing rates, positive or are cyclists riding scared due to helmet promotion and scare campaigns?

10.  Politics: What is the political climate regarding urban cycling?

11.  Social Acceptance: How do drivers and the community at large regard urban cyclists?

12.  Urban Planning: How much emphasis do the city’s planners place on bicycle infrastructure – and are they well-informed about international best practice?

13.  Traffic Calming: What efforts have been made to lower speed limits – for example 30 km/h zones – and generally calm traffic in order to provide greater safety to pedestrians and cyclists?

Pedal reached TRAM (Transportation Research at McGill) in Montreal which studies the issue for comment.

“It is great to see Montreal included on the list of the most bicycle friendly cities of 2013,” noted Dea van Lierop, M.A. (who is originally from Amsterdam). “As Montreal’s bicycle culture continues to grow and the number of cyclists on road increases, the city will have to focus more on developing a complete and interconnected network of cycling facilities rather than simply improving isolated patches throughout the region.

“Although each of the bicycle-friendly cities has infrastructure and policy examples that other cities can learn from, it is very important that every one of these cities continues to develop their bicycle facilities in a way that is specific to their own geographic and cultural contexts.”

More about the international ranking of “bicycle-friendly” cities HERE.

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