The new Cycle Cities report from money.co.uk has revealed the ‘world’s most bike-friendly cities’, with Copenhagen, Tallinn and Amsterdam making up the top three.
After researching a cross-section of cycling-related elements across 40 global cities – bicycle and e-bike rental costs, cycling laws, number of mapped bike paths per resident, pollution levels, elevation levels and average annual temperatures/rainfall levels – a ranking score was assigned to each location out of a possible 280.
The ten cities emerging as the most friendly for bikes:
Alongside the average cost of hiring a bicycle and e-bike for 24 hours within each city, researchers also factored in other elements that would all contribute towards tourists enjoying a safe and enjoyable city cycling experience.
Cities with the most km of mapped bike paths per resident are Timisoara (0.89km), Geneva (0.86km) and Tallinn (0.86km).
Of the locations analysed, Chiang Mai in Thailand and Haifa in Israel emerged as the two cities with the highest pollution levels, with both cities standing to benefit from an increase of tourists and residents switching to bike travel where possible. At the other end of the scale, the Finnish capital of Helsinki, one of the most affordable cities to rent a bike in, was revealed as the city with the lowest pollution levels.
Taking the average temperatures for each city throughout the year, the top ten cities to visit per season were also determined based on the locations that would provide the most comfortable temperature to ride in.
The Slovenian capital of Ljubljana emerged as having the most comfortable average temperatures during the autumn and spring months, while Limassol in Cyprus creates the ideal Winter conditions for cycling tourists. Finally, bikers looking to avoid overheating are advised to head to Vilnius in Lithuania during the Summer months, where temperatures average a comfortable 17.7°C.
Salman Haqqi, personal finance expert at money.co.uk, offered some guidance for any travellers wanting to sight-see from the perspective of two wheels: “Whether you’re an experienced cyclist who feels more at comfortable on two wheels than by any other means of transportation, or you struggle to remember the last time you sat on a bike, it’s worth researching how to ensure your cycling plans are as affordable, safe and straightforward as possible ahead of your trip:
“Firstly, if a bike rental is a definite part of your itinerary, make sure you purchase the correct type of travel insurance. Some insurance companies may classify cycling as a dangerous activity, so it’s worth checking if your policy covers any injuries that may occur so you’re not left out of pocket.
“Next, bear in mind that cycling under the influence of alcohol in certain countries can result in a financial fine. The most commonly agreed limit amongst cities researched for the report is that cyclists cannot have a blood alcohol limit greater than 0.5 grams per litre.
“Despite the fact that some, less experienced, cyclists might feel more comfortable staying clear of the road and riding along pavements, many cities also consider this disruption to foot traffic a finable offence.
“Finally, make sure that once you’re on your bike, that you don’t check your mobile phone or any other handheld device unless in a stationary position. Many countries class texting while cycling to be as dangerous as doing so behind the wheel of a car. Officials in Singapore are known to hand out three-month jail sentences for rule-breaking bike riders in some extreme cases.”