The Danish capital of Copenhagen has been named the world’s top cycling destination according to the 2019 edition of the Copenhagenize Index. The index has been keeping track of the developments in urban cycling infrastructure since 2011 and has been publishing regular updates on the changes in attitude, policy and financing related to cycling in cities across the world.
The Copenhagenize Index and the number one spot
The Index takes into account over 600 cities from across the world with over 600,000 inhabitants (including capitals) and ranks them by taking into account a number of parameters. Some 115 cities with a bicycle modal share of over 2% advance to the 2nd round where they are judged based on their achievements in promoting cycling.
The parameters which are taken into account include
- Cycling infrastructure
- Cycling facilities
- Traffic calming – e.g. the prioritization of cycling and walking at the expense of traditional motorized transport, thereby making the former two safer and more efficient
- The gender split of cyclists – more points being awarded if there are comparable numbers of men and women cyclers
- Modal shares of bicycles
- Modal share increases over the past 10 years
- Safety indicators – special emphasis is put on cities that communicate with cyclists on their responsibilities in keeping themselves safe – by wearing a helmet for example
- Image of the bicycle – more points are awarded to cities that have normalized cycling and have pushed it into the mainstream
- The use and prevalence of cargo bikes
- Advocacy – cities that actively promote cycling as an alternative place are awarded more points
- Politics – based on the political consensus for advancing the cycling agenda
- Comprehensiveness and reach of bike-sharing
- Urban planning meant to accommodate cycling
Taking into account these 13 points, it should come as no surprise that Copenhagen has taken the top spot. Local authorities have been pushing for the establishment of cycling as a predominant mode of transportation for years and are not showing any signs of stopping – especially taking into account the coronavirus crisis which has provided further impetus for the development of the city’s cycling infrastructure.
By embracing cycling as a viable alternative, the Danish capital is not only keeping itself safe and healthy but can also focus its economic recovery efforts on infrastructure projects that would make life better for all those who live in the city.