Cycling round the world
Bicycle Friendly Communities Worldwide:
Around the world various bicycle sharing and promoting initiatives have been initiated. The
idea of ‘Bike Sharing ‘can be traced to way back in 1960’s when the first bike sharing
program was started in Amsterdam, Netherlands known as the White Bicycle Plan, to promote
bicycle as a ‘Healthy’ means of transport. Globally, in every continent there are number
of cities that promote cycling and called themselves ‘Bicycle Friendly Communities’. They
encourage cyclists irrespective of whether they are recreational bicycle users or serious bicycle
commuters so that they can promote cycling as a reliable mode of transportation and thus
contribute to a healthier environment by replacing significant amount of their motorized traffic
Some of the top bicycle friendly communities:
Netherlands - The first country to adopt an official national bicycle policy, the Netherlands
averages more than 2 bikes per person. Nearly 19,000 kilometers of paths and lanes are offered
exclusively for bicycles, with over 7,000 kilometers of these in cities
Amsterdam, Netherlands – Famous as ‘Bicycle capital of the world’, Amsterdam has one of
the largest bicycle sharing program in the world. Biking accounts for 55 percent of trips to
work, and 33 percent of trips to school (for journeys fewer than 7.5 kilometers). The city has
allocated $160 million for the 2006-2010 periods for bicycle-related improvements, including
$58 million for bike parking facilities alone. Forty percent of Amsterdam’s traffic is bicycle
traffic. In addition to safe bicycle lanes, the city is full of bicycle sheds, racks and even a
10,000 bike garage for parking.
Groningen, Netherlands – A model of continuous bicycle integration in transportation and land
use planning policies for over four decades has been developed in Groningen. 57% of travel
in Groningen is via bicycle, accommodated easily by the city as it strives to make its roads
perfect for cyclists. Bikes have right-of-way over cars in areas with heavy cycling traffic and
are given preference at traffic stops. Groningen invests a lot of money in its cycling initiatives,
but less than they believe they would if they were combating heavier auto traffic.
Barcelona, Spain – Barcelona offers 100 bike stations where registered users can borrow
bicycles at no cost. The city is also working on expanding cycling routes and parking. They
celebrate Bike Week annually in May to raise awareness for bicycle safety and to educate
people about biking.
Basel, Switzerland – Basel is full of well-marked bicycle paths that include their own signals
and many left turn lanes. The city offers commuter lanes as well as those that extend outside
of the city.
Berlin, Germany – Less than half of Berlin’s residents own cars, so cycling is a way of life in
Germany’s largest city. 2.5 million Euros were channeled to developing more extensive and
safer bike lanes throughout the city, and they’re still working toward a goal of increasing their
current 12% bicycle traffic to 15% by end of this year.
Freiburg, Germany - This city has a 500-kilometer network of bikeways, and has allocated
roughly $1.3 million annually to carrying out its cycling policy since 1976. The transport
development plan approved in April 2008 requires every new construction project within the
city to provide bicycle parking.
Copenhagen, Denmark –A system of public bicycles which can be used for free (with just
a refundable deposit), and the neighborhood of Christiania is car-free. More than 30% of
Copenhagen’s workforce commutes by bicycle. The city’s extensive bicycle lanes are safe and
fast, and many have their own traffic signals. By investing over $200 million between 2006
and 2024, this city plans to add 136 kilometers of bikeways to its network, bringing its total
length to 507 kilometers.
London, United Kingdom - In February 2008, Mayor Ken Livingstone announced plans for
a massive program to invest nearly $1 billion over the next 10 years in cycling, launching a
Paris-inspired bike rental system; creating more cycle lanes; improving and expanding bike
parking, especially at rail transit stops; and providing online cycling information.
Paris, France - In July 2007 Mayor Bertrand Delanoë launched the extremely popular Vélib
bike rental scheme, which now provides 20,600 bikes at 1,451 stations. Vélib is expected to
double or even triple the number of daily bike trips.
Sandnes, Norway – Part of a pilot program to reduce automobiles on the road, Sandnes offers
residents a number of bike rental programs as well as a significant bicycling route system.
Trondheim, Norway – 18% of the population rides a bike to work or school, and Norway is
working to increase cyclists to account for at least 8% of all traffic by 2015. The city is the
inventor of the bicycle lift, which works like a ski lift to take cyclists up hills.
Beijing, China – In China, most people can’t afford cars, so the bicycle is the preferred method
of travel. In recent years, the numbers of autos on the road has swelled, but it is still is quite
common to see the roads filled with cyclists. Beijing accommodates them easily with plenty
of bike shops for repair and rental, bike signals and dedicated lanes.
Guangzhou’s, China - Guangzhou's 23-kilometer Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor is
expected to finish construction and begin operations in 2009. Current plans are for dedicated
bicycle lanes along its entire length, as well as bike parking at each station. This would greatly
improve upon Chinese BRT lines to date, most of which lack basic bicycle-transit integration.
Delhi India - This city's newest Master Plan calls for making local roads cyclist- and
pedestrian- friendly using traffic-calming methods, providing fully separated bicycle tracks on
all arterial roads, and promoting bicycle use as a component of Delhi's plans to reduce fossil
fuel-based energy consumption. Moreover, the city has bicycle sharing program running at
majority of metro stations.
Israel - The Nature and Parks Authority, other Israeli ministries, non-governmental
organizations (NGOs), and the Jewish National Fund are working together to sponsor and
construct a 1,200 kilometer bike trail, running north-south through the country. Existing dirt
roads will be narrowed so that they are only suitable for bike/pedestrian use.
Japan - The Construction and Transport Ministry and the National Police Agency began a pilot
program of cycle path construction in spring 2008. When complete, nearly 200 kilometers of
bike-only lanes will be installed near schools and transit stations in 98 city districts around the
South Korea - In late 2007 the Home Affairs Ministry announced a new bicycle promotion
campaign that would improve bicycle infrastructure to address growing traffic and air
pollution problems, as well as the rising price of oil. The government wants to greatly increase
per capita bicycle ownership, partly by building more bicycle-only roads and installing more
Melbourne, Australia – Melbourne has an extensive network of city bike lanes and paths and
is in the midst of a five-year plan to improve bicycle networks and facilities. The plan also
includes education on bicycle safety.
Victoria, Australia - Bicycle Victoria, a community organisation focuses on improving
awareness about the benefits of cycling and bike riding for people in the society. With a group
of members and volunteers to aid its purpose, the organisation has organised numerous bike
riding programs across Australia to spread its message and gather more support for its cycling
In addition to this, planning provisions were amended in late 2004 to require bicycle parking
and end-of-trip facilities (e.g. showers and lockers) for all commercial, retail, and multistory
residential building projects exceeding 1,000 square meters at Victoria.
Davis, California – Davis was the first city in the US to achieve platinum-level status from the
League of American Bicyclists’ list of bicycle-friendly cities. Home to more bikes than cars,
95% of Davis’ streets are accompanied by bicycle lanes. Most children in Davis easily walk or
ride their bicycles to school, since the city does not have a public bus system. The city budgets
around $100,000 per year for bike path maintenance.
Madison, Wisconsin – Madison hosts a number of annual events to celebrate and promote
bicycle riding, and also works to ensure bicycle lanes are provided on every major street.
The transportation department recognizes the bicycle as a major mode of transportation and
includes bike accommodations in its city planning endeavors.
Minneapolis, Minnesota – Home to a new $5.1 million pedestrian and bicycle bridge,
Minneapolis has the second-highest number of bicycle commuters in the US, according to the
Chicago, United States - This city's cycling goals through 2015 include achieving 5 percent of
all trips under 5 miles by bike, expanding its bikeway length to 500 miles, and increasing the
number of bike-transit trips by 10 percent each year.
New York, United states - Mayor Michael Bloomberg's sustainability plan, "PlaNYC 2030,"
includes a pledge to complete the city's 1,800-mile bike master plan, of which 420 miles have
already been built, and launch a public education program about the health and environmental
benefits of cycling, in hopes of greatly improving the bicycle mode share for trips to work.
Ottawa, Ontario – With over 170 km of bike paths and bike lanes on most major roads, Ottawa
boasts the highest number of bicycle commuters in North America.
Portland, Oregon – A League of American Bicyclists’ platinum bicycle city, Portland has
doubled its bicycling since the 90s. The city’s extensive network of bicycle lanes includes clear
pavement markings, bicycle signals and regular maintenance. 60% of Portland’s police force
patrols via bicycle. With the highest percentage of bicycle commuters in the nation, Portland
accommodates them with bicycle parking, showers and storage.
Bogota, Columbia – In the 1990s, Bogota set out to reduce the number of automobiles on its
roadways by reducing the space allotted for cars, and instead creating bicycle lanes, pedestrian
paths, and dedicated space for mass transit. Since then, driving has decreased by a third during
rush hour times, and today, only about 13% of Bogota’s residents even own a car. More
impressively, cycling and walking has more than doubled. This city's bike network is the most
extensive in the developing world, at over 300 kilometers. On Sundays and holidays, cars are
prohibited along 120 kilometers of streets.
Curitiba, Brazil – Considered to be the best-planned city in Brazil, Curitiba first started trying
to decrease car traffic and increase cycling traffic in the 1970s. The city today has more than
100 miles of dedicated bicycle space and places a strong emphasis on smart planning and
alternatives to auto travel.
Mexico - In May 2007 the Mexico City government implemented its Ciclo-Paseos or "Cycle-
Rides" program, making Sundays car-free from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm along a 14 kilometer
circuit near the city center.
Eastern Africa - World Bicycle Relief (WBR), a Clinton Global Initiative partner, launched
the pilot phase of "Empowering the Poor Through Bicycle Transportation" in Tanzania and
Zambia in early 2008. WBR is well on its way to distributing 1,000 bicycles in each country
through micro-finance plans for the poor. If the model proves effective, WBR will do the same
in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, and Uganda.
Zambia - In "Project Zambia", World Bicycle Relief has joined a USAID-funded coalition
of relief organizations to fight HIV/AIDS. By September of 2008, the $2.9 million project
will have provided 23,000 bicycles to healthcare volunteers, educators promoting disease
prevention, and child-led/vulnerable households, as well as trained and equipped over 400
· Bicycle Friendly Communities, Retrieved on March 18, 2010 from
· J.Matthew Roney (2009), Selected Cycling-Promotion Initiatives from around
the World, 2008, Earth Policy Institute, Retrieved on March 18, 2010 from