Copenhagenize Index 2013 - Amsterdam still top, French make big strides - but no UK city in top 20

London drops out of top 20 - though number of cities assessed has more than doubled

by Simon_MacMichael   May 4, 2013  

Amsterdam has retained its place as the world’s leading city for cycling, according to the second edition of the Copenhagenize Index, which has also identified strong progress in encouraging cycling by several French cities – but London, which was ranked joined 15th in the inaugural edition in 2011, has dropped out of the top 20.

That may seem a surprise – while no-one would doubt that a lot needs to be done to make London a true cycling city to rival Europe’s best, at the Get Britain Cycling launch last week both Ashok Sinha of the London Cycling Campaign and Mark from the blog I Bike London agreed that real progress has been made in the past year or two.

The explanation seems to be twofold – this time round, Copenhgenize – an urban planning consultancy with a strong focus on the bicycle – has cast the net wider, assessing 150 cities rather than the 80 that figured in that inaugural edition; meanwhile, some places have burst into the top 20 rankings thanks to impressive progress in embracing cycling.

Here’s this year’s top 20 ranking, with the 2011 position in brackets – note that the 20th city, Hamburg, is actually numbered 13 due to the way Copenhagenize treats cities tied on the same score (or rather, the ones that follow them.)

1. Amsterdam (1)
2. Copenhagen (2)
3. Utrecht (new)
4. Seville (new)
4. Bordeaux (new)
5. Nantes (new)
5. Antwerp (new)
6. Eindhoven (new)
7. Malmö (new)
8. Berlin (5)
9. Dublin (9)
10. Tokyo (4)
11. Munich (6)
11. Montreal (8)
11. Nagoya (new)
12. Rio de Janeiro
13. Barcelona (3)
13. Budapest (10)
13. Paris (7)
14. Hamburg (13)

The ranking is compiled based on 13 criteria, ranging from modal share and social acceptance to perception of safety and existence of bike share programmes, as well as issues such as bicycle infrastructure. Bonus points are awarded in categories where a city has made a particularly striking effort.

Copehagenize says: 

Only one city this year scored maximum bonus points - Seville. Bordeaux, Rio de Janeiro and Copenhagen came close to maxing out on the bonus score. Bordeaux scored well on political leadership and their bike share system while Copenhagen made up for lost points on helmet promotion by scoring on innovation what with the series of bicycle bridges being constructed on the harbour and their almost complete infrastructure network. Rio de Janeiro managed to gain bonus points for innovative planning projects, social acceptance and political will.

Three Dutch cities made the Top 20 which is certainly no surprise but it must be said that they coasted to their placements based on status quo more than in- novative thinking and the eagerness to move forward that we see in other cities.

The appearance of three French cities is a sign that France is quickly becoming a leading urban cycling nation. Three German cities and two Japanese cities made the cut as well, keeping them established as the world’s leading bicycle nations behind the Netherlands and Denmark.

The most exciting aspect is seeing the newcomers to the list. The Emerging Bicycle Cities are not just transforming their own urban landscape, they are inspiring cities around the world in showing what is possible in a short amount of time. These are the visionaries.

You can find full details of the Copenhagenize Index, including comments about each of the cities making the top 20 here.

3 user comments

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..while Copenhagen made up for lost points on helmet promotion..

Or maybe Copenhagen knows better than the damn fools who put this together.

I'm now going to take this as seriously as the Nobel peace prize (won by Barack Obama before he had done anything).

posted by kie7077 [802 posts]
4th May 2013 - 15:25


Where was Moscow placed? I can't see how anywhere could be worse (the only possible source of points is that you can take your bike on the metro - if you can get it through the new turnstiles!)

Tovarishch's picture

posted by Tovarishch [59 posts]
4th May 2013 - 17:37

1 Like

Dublin in ninth place?

Didn't see much evidence of a strong cycling culture when I was there recently. Lots of busy main roads in the town centre that very few typical people would consider cycling on, plus some pretty low-quality segregated tracks in the suburbs.

I can believe the city is improving but, overall, cycling facilities looked poor

posted by fluffy_mike [94 posts]
7th May 2013 - 8:17

1 Like