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The Top 10 Bicycle Friendly Cities in the World

Utilizing the following five categories rated by The Bicycle Friendly Communities Campaign a list of the world's most bicycle friendly cities has been created by Virgin Vacations.

  • Engineering - What has been built to promote cycling in the community, the availability of bike parking, designated lanes, signals and the connectivity of both the off/on road networks.
  • Education - The amount of education there is available for both cyclists and motorists including bike maps.
  • Encouragement - The promotion and encouragement of bicycling through events and campaigns.
  • Enforcement - If the community uses enforcement to encourage cyclists and motorists to share the road safely, and the existence of bicycling related laws.
  • Evaluation and Planning - Systems that cities have in place to measure current programs and take appropriate steps to plan for the future.

1. Amsterdam, Netherlands, Population: 750,000

In Amsterdam 40% of all traffic moves by bicycle. The city has an huge network of fast, safe, easy to use bicycle routes with designated street lanes and traffic signals. A theft-prevention program has been set up with a large number of guarded underground bicycle storage sheds. Also Amsterdam is building a 10,000 bicycle parking garage at the main train station. Bicyles are an important part of the culture in Amsterdam.

2. Portland, Oregon, USA, Population: 533,000

The Portland bicycle network connects all parts of the city and is dramatically increasing bicycle use. Bike paths connect the urban neighborhoods so that a rider can bypass auto commuting altogether. The city also has a strong bicycle culture where every type of cyclist can find opportunities to enjoy riding a bicycle. Portland has an innovative program called Create-a-Commuter that provides commuter bicycles and commuter safety education to low-income adults. The bicycles include lights, a helmet, a lock, a pump, tools, maps and rainwear.

Since the early 1990's the Portland bicycle network has increased from 60 to 260 miles . The use of bikes has quadrupled during the same time period without an increase in the number of accidents. The city still has to build 38 miles of additional bike lanes in order to achieve it's master plan. Portland's bike commuter rate is almost 9%.

3. Copenhagen, Denmark, Population: 3.4 million

Copenhagen is known as 'the city of bikes' and a full 32% of residents are bike to work on a regular basis. Over the next 3 years the city will double it's spending on cycling infrastructure. The extensive bicycle paths are often separated from the main traffic lanes and some have their own traffic signals. Already one city neighborhood, Christiania, is completely car-free. Public bicycles can be found downtown. They require a refundable deposit, but, are otherwise free.

4. Boulder, Colorado, USA, Population: 101,000

At least 95% of the major arteries have bike lanes or trails. Boulder has spends an average 15% of its transportation budget on building and maintaining bicycle traffic and also offers online bike mapping. Over 4000 people participate in Boulder's Bike to Work Day. The city has implemented public programs to promote and encourage safe biking such as 'Boulder Safe Routes to School' which has resulted in a significant increase in students walking or biking to school.

5. Davis, California, USA, Population: 65,000

Davis has over 100 miles of bike lanes and bike paths and 17% of residents bike to work. It was one of the first cities in the U.S. to build an extensive network of bike lanes, paths, and grade separated bicycle crossings. The city does not have public school buses so many children walk or bike to school. A free multi-colored local bike map is available free. Davis actually has more bicycles than cars. Cyclebration in May is a month long celebration of the bicycle held each year.

6. Sandnes, Norway, Population: 56,000

Sandes is the best city for cycling in Norway. Since 1996 the city has offered public bicycle rentals and subscriptions. There is a lot of bicycle parking available, many designated street lanes and a large bicycle culture.

7. Trondheim, Norway, Population: 162,000

Trampe is a bicycle lift that tows a rider up hill without having to pedal get off the bike. Similar to a ski lift it is the first of it's kind making Trondheim one of the most unique cities in the world for biking. About 18% of the cities commuters ride a bicycle to work. Public bicycles are available for rental or subscription.

8. San Francisco, California, Population: 744,000

In San Francisco about 40,000 residents commute to work regularly by bicycle. It is the second most densely populated city in the country with approximately 63 miles of bicycle lanes and paths.

9. Berlin, Germany, Population: 3.4 million

Less than half of the residents of Berlin own a car so biking to work every day is very common. The city has a goal of increasing bike use up to 15% of all traffic during 2010. There are 80 kilometers of bike lanes on streets and 50 kilometers of bike lanes on sidewalks. An online bicycle router BBBike will calculate the best bike route between any 2 locations in Berlin.

10. Barcelona, Spain, Population: 1.6 million

Barcelona offers free use of public bicycles which can be picked up or dropped off by licenced users at over 100 locations through out the city. A green ring with a bike path surronds the perimeter of the urban core. Thousands of parking spaces are available for bicycles and an under ground parking garage is being built.

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