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London ranked outside top 50 cities for cycling worldwide

Joe Robinson
15 May 2019

New study sees London finish 62nd below Paris, Tokyo and Los Angeles for quality of city cycling

A recent study has shown London to be outside of the top 50 cities for cycling around the world with Bristol the UK's only representation in the top 20.

The study conducted by German bicycle insurance company Coya found London to be only the 62nd best city worldwide for cycling based on data related to infrastructure, road quality, accidents and bike sharing schemes across 90 international cities.

This saw London ranked lower than major cities such as Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo although did see the UK capital rank higher than Rome, New York and Milan.

The UK's leading city was Bristol which scored 43.76 out of 100 overall, 17th best in the world and 14 points higher than London's 29.72. Edinburgh also scored higher than London with a score of 31.32.

According to the data, the reason London figured so far down the rankings was a mixture of a lack of infrastructure, poor road quality and low bicycle usage.

For example, Coya found that only 2% of London's population cycle compared to 15% in Berlin and 32% in Amsterdam.

It also gave London a relatively low score of 42.61 out of 100 for infrastructure which is far lower than similar-sized cities such as Berlin and Barcelona.

Where London did receive praise was for a bicycle theft score of 90.06 and for it apparently having a car-free day during the year. This refers to an event that has happened only once before and is planned for another edition this September.

It may have been better to consider the RideLondon weekend as a better initiative for giving London's roads back to people.

Overall, the data found that the Dutch city Utrecht was the best city for cycling, beating Munster in Germany and Antwerp in Belgium. The best large city in the world was deemed to be Auckland, New Zealand which beat Hangzhou, China.

Utrecht was deemed to have the world's best city cycling infrastructure expenditure while also having over half of its residents currently cycling.

For cycling infrastructure, it was found the Swiss cities of Geneva and Bern and the French city of Nantes scored highest for quality of specialised road, bicycle lane and highways.

Germany is considered the safest country to cycle with seven of its cities ranking in the top 10 while the flipside saw the USA have five of the top 10 cities for bicycle accidents. Meanwhile, Johannesburg - South Africa, Casablanca - Morocco and Medellin - Colombia, all have the highest rate of cycling-related fatalities.

Interestingly, Los Angeles was found to have the best weather conditions for cycling when considering its low rainfall, hours of sunshine and lack of extreme weather, beating fellow Californian city San Francisco.

Founder of Coya Andrew Shaw commented on the data highlighting the clear correlation between cities better designed for cycling and higher levels of residents using bicycles.

'It’s fascinating to see the correlation between high bicycle usage and city ranking, as it’s clear that the better the city is for cycling, the more people will ride,' said Shaw.

'The fact that the top three cities are in northern Europe reflects the notion that cycling is a way of life in those countries, which has clearly had an impact on the amount of money they’ve invested in it.

'It’s an encouraging representation of the efforts city officials make to improve cycling conditions, and proves that government investment in safety and infrastructure ultimately pays off.'

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