Architecture & Cities

Copenhagen is first in the Copenhagenize Index ranking of bicycle-friendly cities

The 2015 Copenhagenize Index gives cities marks for their efforts and the results they’ve obtained in establishing the bicycle as a socially accepted form of transport: Copenhagen edges Amsterdam into first place.

Copenhagen ranks first in the 2015 ranking of bike-friendly cities, which owes its name exactly to the capital of Denmark. The Copenhagenize Index was developed in 2011 and is compiled every two years to determine the cities’ efforts towards establishing the bicycle as a feasible, practical and socially accepted means of transport. After ranking second in the last two rankings Copenhagen edges Amsterdam into first place, that was first both in the 2011 and 2013 rankings. Another Dutch city, Utrecht, remains in the third position, while Eindhoven ranks fifth.


cargo bike copenhagen
A man driving his offspring with a cargo bike. Copenhagen is the queen of bikes according to the 2015 Copenhagenize Index. © News Øresund – Johan Wessman via su licenza CC BY 2.0


Surprisingly, a few French cities have made it to the ranking: Strasbourg, which is new to the Copenhagenize Index, ranks achieves the fourth position, Nantes ranks seventh, Bordeaux eighth and Paris nineteenth.


There are other new cities on the 2015 Copenhagenize Index including Ljubljiana, that has entered the ranking by simply inspiring itself in some of the effective measures adopted by other cities, Buenos Aires by implementing a few measures, Vienna and the US city of Minneapolis.

There are also two Spanish cities: Seville that in the last few years distinguished itself through the promotion of bicycles and Barcelona that is heavily investing in bike infrastructure in order to become even more bike-friendly.


Dublin, which is revolutionising the way the means of transport are used by its citizens by heavily investing in pedestrian areas, ranked fifteenth. Italy hasn’t entered yet the Copenhagenize Index ranking, but the increasing changes introduced in some cities will certainly make Italy a good place where to use bikes.

How the Copenhagenize Index works

Cities are given between 0 and 4 points in 13 different categories. There is also a maximum of 12 bonus points awarded for particular efforts or results, which are useful to highlight efforts that are ignored in the thirteen parameters. In the Copenhagenize ranking are chosen cities that have at least 600,000 inhabitants in the metro area, with the exception of some cities including Malmö and Ljubljana.


The categories of the Copenhagenize Index

  1. advocacy (the city’s advocacy by NGOs);
  2. bicycle culture/facilities (bike racks, ramps on stairs, space allocated on trains and buses);
  3. bicycle infrastructure;
  4. bike share programme (Does the city have a comprehensive and well-used bike-sharing programme?);
  5. gender split (How many cyclists are male and female?);
  6. modal share for bicycles (rated from 1% to 25%);
  7. modal share increase since 2006 (rated from 1% to 5%);
  8. perception of safety;
  9. politics;
  10. social acceptance(What do drivers and the community think of the city’s cyclists?);
  11. urban planning (rated from car-centric urban planners to planners who think bicycle and pedestrian first);
  12. traffic calming (30 km/h zones and actions to provide greater safety to pedestrians and cyclists).

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