To bicycle or not to bicycle


Cities as Copenhagen in Denmark, Groningen and Amsterdam in the Netherlands or Münster in Germany are worldwide known as typical bicycle cities. Why are always these places nominated and where are the problems in other cities? 

To go somewhere by bike is often much more comfortable than using a car and desperately trying to find a parking lot in the city center. Cycling gives the sportist energy, a higher life-quality and a feeling of freedom even in a big urban area. But only if there is a developed infrastructure so that the cyclist can feel safe and gets quickly to his or her destination. Especially in big urban areas, it is often very dangerous to go by bike on the streets. There are not enough bikeways, or if there are some, they are too small or not marked as a line. This is also dangerous for car drivers who might overlook cyclists.

There are cities where cycling is the fastest and most preferred choice of transportation. These cities are ranked, taking in consideration the city’s size and inhabitants’s number.

Fahrradstadt - Wikimedia Commons Heb
(c) Wikimedia Commons/Heb

But why are especially German, Dutch and Danish known as bike-friendly cities?

Is it because of the many students (more than one fifths) who prefer an affordable transportation medium? Copenhagen, Groningen, Münster, Göttingen, Barcelona, Berlin, Hamburg and Münster are typical bike-cities. A statistic shows that the named cities have more than 100.000 inhabitants and more than 20 % cyclists. You would assume that a bike city is named like this, if there are around 25 % cyclists. This is the case in the Netherlands with ten cities and in Germany with six cities. After, there come Switzerland (Winterthur and Basel), despite the topographics, and at least Austria (Graz and Salzburg).

Copenhagen as an Eco Metropole for example has since the 1980s more than 240 kms cycling tracks, since 2005 even 330 kms and also different green routes. The tracks are separated from cars and pedestrians by kerbs.

Groningen: The World’s Cycling City from Streetfilms:

Every city can do something, to be one day a famous bike-city, too. This is not only trying to increase the proportion of people cycling to their workplaces and decreasing risks of injuries – they could also take in consideration i.e. the following points while fixing their goals to enable a smarter bike city: