is set on a course--hopefully--to become one of the best cities for
bicycling. Which made me wonder who else on that list would we join?
Also, what strong points do those cities have that Richmond can work
towards--as well as envision our own unique points?
One of the more recent Top Ten ranking is from a 2011 survey that used the five categories established by the League of American Bicyclists to determine “Bicycle Friendly Communities.”
Scroll to the bottom to see what criteria were used.
1. Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Called the bike capital of the world
- Biking accounts for 40 percent of all traffic movement
- The Amsterdam Bike Ramp at Centraal Station holds 7000 plus bikes for commuters, who park there while using the train.
- Designated street lanes and even traffic signals.
- Underground sheds and outside racks, which can hold thousands of bikes.
2. Portland, Oregon
Eh, haven’t we heard enough about how great Portland is? Playing, playing. But Richmond's new Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trail Coordinator has a good perspective.
- Portland's Create-a-Commuter program provides
low-income adults with commuter bicycles as well as a session on
commuter safety. The bikes come outfitted with lights, a lock, a helmet,
a pump, tool kits, maps and rainwear.
- Bicycle use has quadrupled over the last 20 years
- Bicycle network that connects all parts of the city
- But in some neighborhoods bike commuters are as high as 9 percent
- Extensive on/off road trails
3. Copenhagen, Denmark
- Currently 32 percent of workers bicycle to work.
- Bicycle paths are often separated from the main traffic lanes and sometimes have their own signal systems.
- In some places, cars are charged $5 per hour to park, so having a bike is an incentive.
- Free public bicycles for a returnable deposit
4. Boulder, Colorado, USA
Safe Routes to School pilot program is very successful. One school
reported that 75 percent of their students walked or biked to school.
- More than 4,000 people participate in Boulder’s Bike to Work Day.
- City produces in-depth local bike map.
- Designated street lanes and traffic signals.
5. Davis, California, USA
- This small city, population 65,000, has 100 miles of bike lanes and paths.
- Seventeen percent of Davis residents commute on bike.
- Reported as one of the first cities in the U.S. to plan and incorporate bicycles into its transportation infrastructure.
- There are no public school busses (city residents voted to get rid of them) so many children bike or walk to school.
- The city logo has a bicycle in it!
- More bikes in the city than cars.
6. Norway, two cities: Sandes and Trondheim
7. San Francisco, California, USA
- Commuting: 40,000 residents regularly commute to work on bicycle.
- Infrastructure: 63 miles of bicycle lanes and paths throughout the city.
- Well-established and politically influential San Francisco Bicycling Commission.
8. Berlin, Germany
The most populated city in Germany, but less than half of residents own a vehicle.
- There are 390 miles of bike paths with over 90 miles of mandatory bicycle paths
- 120 miles of off-road bicycle routes,
- 40 miles of bike lanes on the roads
- 50 miles of shared bus lanes which are also open to bicyclists
- 60 miles of combined pedestrian/bike paths
- 30 miles of marked bike lanes on the sidewalks.
- Around 500,000 daily riders account for 13 percent of total traffic.
- The bicycle route online planner make traveling easy.
9. Barcelona, Spain
- Public bicycle system known as a Bicing service.
Residents are given a card that can be used to access any of the 100
bike rental stations throughout the city. The bike can be dropped off at
- A ‘green ring’ of bike paths surrounds the city center.
- Parking: more than 3,250 spaces at street level. An underground lot for parking bicycles is under construction.
- Designated street lanes and traffic signals.
10. Basel, Switzerland
- Network of well-marked bicycle lanes throughout the city,
- Designated traffic signals and left-hand turn lanes for bikes.
- Special route maps are also available for cyclists.
- Rent-a-Bike underground bike park.
- Besides local commuter bike lanes, there are specific bike trails that connect to other parts of Switzerland.
Criteria established by the League of American Bicyclists:
communities are judged in five categories often referred to as the Five
E's. These are Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and
Evaluation & Planning. A community must demonstrate achievements in
each of the five categories in order to be considered for an award.
Communities with more significant achievements in these areas receive
I find the ranking interesting, because Berlin
seems as though it should be placed nearer the top. For perspective,
here is another 2011 ranking of Top Ten Bicycle Friendly Cities, with
many of the same showing up on the list--just in different order.
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