Prague, Czech Republic – According to a new global index looking at the best destinations for cyclists, Czech and Polish cities still have a long way to go to promote the use of velocipedes.
Compiled by German insurance company Luko, the Global Bicycles Cities Index 2022 ranks nearly 100 of the world’s major metropolises according to how well they cater to bike enthusiasts.
Prague ranked as Europe’s least bike-friendly city
The 16 indicators used in the global index include investment and infrastructure quality, road safety and the number of cycling accidents or bicycle thefts, bicycle usage and sharing opportunities, as well as the availability of specialised shops. Weather conditions are also taken into account.
While it may not come as a surprise for cyclists used to navigating the treacherous streets of the Czech capital, Prague was ranked at a disappointing 73rd place out of 90 cities, just ahead of the likes of Istanbul, Cairo, or Johannesburg.
It is the least bike-friendly city from Europe included in the index.
Poland’s two-largest cities of Warsaw and Krakow, meanwhile, are placed 59th and 68th respectively, also a far cry from Europe’s friendliest destinations for amateur cyclists.
Cycling boom gains momentum
Evidence nevertheless suggests that, as observed elsewhere, cycling is becoming increasingly popular in major cities across Central Europe, including Poland and the Czech Republic.
In Prague, the number of cyclists has increased by more than 70% since 2019, with half of the city’s adult population now believed to ride a bike at least once a month. Municipal authorities are slowly addressing this boom, including by planning new dedicated bicycle lanes or extending bike-sharing programs.
In Warsaw, a 2018 study found that more than half of the city’s residents cycled at least once a month, mostly for recreational purposes, while the lack of proper infrastructure and road safety issues were seen as persistent barriers.
The top of the ranking is dominated by Utrecht (Netherlands), Munster (Germany), Antwerp (Belgium), Copenhagen (Denmark) and Amsterdam (Netherlands).
Outside of Europe, the most bike-friendly cities appear to be the Chinese city of Hangzhou (7th), ahead of Montreal (16th), Melbourne (20th), Tokyo (24th) and Wellington, in New Zealand (30th).