Amsterdam Cedes Top Ranking in Cycling City Index to Copenhagen

Amsterdam ceded its spot as the world’s most bicycle-friendly city to Copenhagen, losing out because of a lack of innovation on improving infrastructure.

The Danish capital, which was the runner-up in both the 2011 and 2013 versions of the survey, overtook Amsterdam on the 2015 Copenhagenize Index of the world’s Top 20 bike-friendly cities published on Tuesday. Copenhagen won points for a rash of improvements to cycling in the city.

“You simply can’t keep track of the constant flow of new bicycle urbanism stuff in Copenhagen,” Copenhagenize, an urban design consulting firm, wrote, citing two bridges that opened in December and four new bicycle bridges scheduled to open in the future.

Copenhagen expects half of the people who work or study in the city to commute on bikes this year, up from 45 percent last year, according to the city council’s 2014 cycling report. That’s up from 36 percent a decade ago.

Amsterdam, on the other hand, risks resting on its laurels for “what they have done, as opposed to what they are doing and planning,” Copenhagenize said.

There has been a 40 percent increase in bike trips in the past 20 years and the tightly packed city has struggled to keep up -- parking at the city’s main train stations can be close to impossible.

Amsterdam has in the past said it needs to invest 120 million euros ($134 million) by 2020 to address the main issues related to parking and the cycling network, according to the city’s website. It would focus on adding thousands of additional parking spots across the city.

Other Dutch cities were included in the top 10, with Utrecht coming in third place and Eindhoven at fifth. Three French cities -- Strasbourg, Nantes and Bordeaux -- also made the top 10.

The Copenhagenize index ranks selected urban areas using criteria including advocacy, cycling culture, infrastructure and bike-sharing programs to determine the friendliness of a city.

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