World's top 10 cities that are bicycle-friendly

Copenhagen, Denmark (SUPPLIED)

It's not a priority yet in our part of the world, but with fuel costs soaring elsewhere and environmental conservation in vogue, the bicycle is making a comeback in many cities, becoming a major part of urban transportation plans.

The guys at men's website AskMen.com have come up with a list of the world's top most bicycle-friendly cities.

From renting and parking facilities to integration with other public transport facilities, the list looks at cities that have been planned to encourage this healthy, economical and environmentally friendly means of transport.

Be warned though, many of the cities on the list are currently covered in snow so right now might not be the best time. Still, once the sun's up and the asphalt gleams, there should be no stopping you.

Here's hoping our own Dubai will soon make it to the list.


1 Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam comes top when it comes to bicycle-friendly cities and nearly 40 per cent of all commutes in Amsterdam are done by bicycle. Public bikes are available to rent and plans to construct a massive bike parking structure at the city's main train station are under way.

2 Copenhagen, Denmark

About 32 per cent of Copenhagen residents are cycling to work on a regular basis. The city's pro-bike culture allows you to rent a public bike for free for just a deposit.

3 Bogota, Colombia

While programmes for bike riding are not as robust as those in Europe or America, Bogota has an advantage that makes it a bicycle-friendly city – just 13 per cent of residents own cars. In fact, once a week, the city closes more than 112.6km of streets to vehicle traffic in favour of bicycle riders, joggers and others.

4 Curitiba, Brazil

Bicycle integration is at the core of the well-planned Curitiba. The city has been pushing cycling as the go-to mode of transportation for more than 40 years and the result has been the ubiquity of bike lanes. A vibrant bike-oriented activist community exists to promote bicycle riding as an alternative to auto congestion.

5 Montreal, Canada

Two years ago, Montreal embarked on a $134 million (Dh492.1m) plan to revamp the city's bike trails and create a more bicycle-friendly atmosphere. The plan included incorporating bicycle-friendly lock points into standard parking metres. The city currently boasts 3,862km of trails with plans to expand. Montreal also has the first urban bike-share infrastructure in North America, the Bixi programme.

6 Portland, Oregon, United States

Portland has created bicycle paths that connect the urban neighbourhoods so a rider can bypass auto commuting altogether. The city also offers low-cost commuter bicycles to the city's less wealthy residents ,which come complete with a helmet, lock, pump, maps and rain gear. With more than 418.4km of trails and paths, Portland achieves a commuter rate of about nine per cent.

7 Basel, Switzerland

Basel features street lanes specifically geared toward bicycle riders and include left-hand turn lanes that are unique to riders. Basel also supports a robust network of bike-rental programmes that allow tourists and residents alike to ride.

8 Barcelona, Spain

Among the now-standard bike lanes, signals and maps that are ubiquitous in major European cities, Barcelona also has created a green ring that runs the perimeter of the urban core.

9 Beijing, China

As in most developing countries, the car is on the rise, but cycling is still the best way to get around Beijing as car traffic is so slow and congested. Air quality has been a major issue with the promotion of bicycle riding as a prominent policy push.

10 Trondheim, Norway

One of the biggest drawbacks to riding a bicycle has to be pedalling uphill so Trondheim has come up with a novel solution to riding uphill – bicycle lifts that act like ski tows and allow the rider to glide up a hill without having to pedal.

 

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