Whether it’s the steep rise in auto fuel costs, increase in insurance rates, repair and maintenance expenses or environmental conservation; the bicycle has become a key factor in urban community transportation strategies. Bicycles have amazing benefits for individuals, the community and the environment; but it takes a strong commitment from city planners and citizens for benefits to culminate. Here is a list of some of the world’s most bike-friendly cities:
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
With nearly 40% of all travellers riding a bicycle, it’s no surprise that Amsterdam is known as the “bicycling capital” of Europe. The city is committed to a bike culture, with safe, widespread routes, public bike rentals and substantial bike parking structures available. The city’s dedication to public transportation reduces any need for commuters to own a car. In addition, the city has a great tram network for those that prefer not to cycle.
Over 36% of all commuters bike to work on a regular basis, this is a major factor in why Copenhagen is one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world. The city’s framework for such a bicycle cultural has made commutes quick, easy and practical. Streets, paths and routes are marked with dedicated lanes for cyclists; free public bicycles are available for use and for every new or improved road, bike-friendly accommodations are made.
Unlike other bike-friendly cities, Portland has chosen a different path in expanding their biking network, by developing paths that connect with urban neighbourhoods; therefore allowing cyclists to avoid auto commuters. The 260 miles of paths and trails has given the city a bike commuter rate of 9%, that’s nearly 60,000 cyclists. The first to offer a community assistance program, Portland provides low-income adults with commuter bicycles, safety lessons, helmets, pumps, locks, maps and rain gear.
Not only is standard bike lanes, signals and maps universal in major European cities; Barcelona has developed a perimeter around the core of the city specifically for cyclists. The green path has numerous bike rental stations, dedicated parking spaces for cars so commuters may use bikes to travel inside the city. The city’s expansion of its bicycle network has also generated designated street lanes, traffic signals, maps, bike parking and paths.
The clearly marked bicycle lanes throughout the city, specific traffic signals and special left-hand turn lanes makes Basel one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. In addition, the city offers a large bike rental program and dedicated bike trails that join surrounding areas of Switzerland.
With a population of over 20 million people, biking is the most efficient means of transportation in Beijing. Because of the poor air quality and significant traffic, bike transportation is highly encouraged. Residents also use electric bicycles and scooters, and have the safety of the bikes lanes as well.
One of the best ways for tourists to enjoy all sights the harbour city has to offer to hire a bike. If you are a cycling enthusiast, there are numerous big and small bike shops in Sydney which also operate as café. These are great hangout places to meet your fellow bike lovers. If you are looking for an excursion, a variety of two wheeled treks are there for you to explore within national parks only a short drive away from Sydney CBD.