As recently as a decade ago it would have been almost unimaginable for Canadians to traverse their city by bike.
The reality is that most of our urban centres were designed for cars – and cars only.
But as urban planners and policymakers have become more enlightened to the benefits of building bike-friendly cities, many Canadians have cut their wheels in half.
So, where do Canadian cities rank among the best in the world for cyclists? A recent study conducted by digital insurance company Coya sheds some light on the matter by ranking cities based on 16 factors:
- – Weather.
- – Percentage Bicycle Usage
- – Crime & Safety: Fatalities / 100,000 Cyclists, Accidents / 100,000 Cyclists, Bicycle Theft Score
- – Infrastructure: Number of Bicycle Shops / 100,000 Cyclists, Specialised Roads & Road Quality Score, Investment & Infrastructure Quality Score
- – Sharing: Number of Bicycle Sharing & Rental Stations / 100,000 Score, # Shared Bicycles / 100,000 Score
- – Events: No Car Day, Critical Mass Score
Utrecht is the world’s most bike-friendly city
Based on these metrics, the best city in the world to be a cyclist is Utrecht, in the Netherlands. And it’s not even close. Utrecht scored 11 points higher than second-place Münster, Germany. More than half of Utrecht’s population rides a bike every day, by the far highest score of any city on the list. Antwerp, Belgium rounds out the top three.
Only three countries in the top 20 are outside of Europe, including Montreal in 18th. What the city lacks in weather, it makes up for with a strong bicycle theft score and otherwise decent grades across the board.
The next-best Canadian city is Vancouver, at number 37. Toronto was not ranked either because it’s terrible to bike there or because it was not among the 90 cities selected for “their willingness to invest and work on initiatives to improve cycling infrastructure and safety.”
We are willing to invest in environmentally degrading vehicles, however.