Gone are the days when we could leave our windows wide open and let the breeze flow in and delight us. Those invaluable coffee sessions huddled up by the window sill is just a figment of our nostalgia now. Sadly, now the first thought that comes as we step out is the evils of the polluted air around us. With the exponential increase in urbanization and development, the state of our ecosystem is deteriorating almost frighteningly. Many conventions and conferences are held at global level to work out solution for this mutual crisis. But what we fail to realize many a times is that there are small everyday steps that we can undertake in order to bring a change in the long run. Construction and maintenance of bicycle friendly cities is one major step among several others. In order to inculcate this habit we need to work at the foundation level, that is the town planning and zoning. There are certain key features to keep in mind while converting our cities to bicycle friendly ones. Studies have been conducted to research what factors contributes towards convincing the citizens to use bikes, leaving the comforts and ease of their cars. The city hot spots should be located at a reasonable distance from the residential areas and the public roads network should also be ideally designed. Compact and circular settlement pattern favors the riding bicycles while low density, non-circular plans does otherwise. There are the benefits in the health and economical spheres to be kept in mind too. In recent studies, bicycling to work has shown to decrease mortality by as much as 40%. The reduction in cost of living is also a highlight since the money spend on automobile insurance and petrol can be saved. Now lets take a look at the top 5 cities who have achieved this goal to a greater extend. These bicycle friendly cities have set an example for the rest of us. Reduction of carbon footprint can be achieved by promoting bike friendly cities.
#1 Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is by far the top among the cities to nurture and create bicycle friendly communities. This is no small achievement. The town was planned such that the routes to key attractions were more accessible by bicycles. This increased their demand. The safety of the riders were ensured by the construction of 28 cycling super highways covering 500 kilometers. This is in addition to the existing roads. Walking through these lines, one would be surprised by the large number of bikes racing past. Nearly, half the population make use of bikes and bicycles to travel to work on a daily basis. The best part is the fact that the country is constantly investing in it’s infrastructure to make sure it tops the chart for a long time to come.
#2 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Someone once told me there is no better way to explore the wonders of a city than to ride your cycle around. Amsterdam fits this description perfectly. The well set streets are a treasure for the two wheel gods. From a tourist point of view, there are countless places that one can rent a bike from. There are absolutely no excuses to make. Funny enough, Amsterdam has more bicycles than people! It is a beauty to watch the people going on doing their daily errands from dropping children to buying groceries on their cycles. It would be a crime not to include this blessed town among the best cities for cycling.
#3 Montreal, Canada
This town makes us realize it’s just a matter of dedication. Even with it’s cold climate for major part of the year, the city has developed to be a bike friendly one. A real good one at that too. This buzzing Canadian city has twice as many bike paths as the list topper Copenhagen. Another fact that makes it stand apart from it’s contenders in this list is the unique festival celebrated annually. They host a bike festival welcoming riders of all age groups and skill level to participate by taking a tour around town. Such initiatives help draw attention to the cause and also attract the younger crowd. Nothing more effective than a touch of competitive spirit. Sure to stay in list of bicycle friendly cities for long.
#4 Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is still not that far from the initial stages but the progress is attractive.They are still working on increasing the number of bike friendly paths but even then their bike share program is one of the most frequently used in the world. The police has also lend a helping hand by making sure to slow down car traffic and thus making sure safety is top priority. The speed limits have also been reduced again promoting riders. They are working quite hard to be among the bicycle friendly cities.
#5 Strasbourg, France
There are some cities that have to be felt, not seen. The small, pretty city of Strasbourg is without doubt one among them. It’s cruel to race past by in your cars without completely absorbing the joys this city has to offer. Even though the percent of population using cycles is not impressive the efforts taken by the government definitely is. They have set goals for up to 2025. The city already has roads dedicated for riders.