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Copenhagenize's Most Cyclist-Friendly City Ranking Passe...

Copenhagenize's Most Cyclist-Friendly City Ranking Passes on Lyon, France

Copenhagenize, the Danish urban planning council agency specializing in bike culture and traffic, published the top twenty most cyclist-friendly cities. Whereas Nantes, France is ranked 7th and Paris is ranked 17th, Lyon does not even appear on the list.Why? The ranking has caused some irritation. Like every year, Copenhagenize, the Danish agency for urban cycling

Rue Thomassin with parked bikes, Lyon, France

Copenhagenize, the Danish urban planning council agency specializing in bike culture and traffic, published the top twenty most cyclist-friendly cities. Whereas Nantes, France is ranked 7th and Paris is ranked 17th, Lyon does not even appear on the list.Why?

The ranking has caused some irritation. Like every year, Copenhagenize, the Danish agency for urban cycling development, established an index of the 20 cities in the world where the built environment is the most agreeable and safe for bike users. And, like every year, Lyon is missing from the awards, in contrast with other French cities like Nantes (7th), Bordeaux (8th), and even Paris (17th). How was the capital of the Gaules, who began the trend for public rentable bikes (Vélo’v) in 2005, beaten out for a spot?

“Opaque” Criteria

It is impossible to know the precise reasons why Lyon was not awarded, given that Copenhagenize refuses to discuss the cities that didn’t make its list. For Gilles Vesco, the city of Lyon's councillor of new urban mobility, everything in the top 20 should be taken with a grain of salt. “The criteria for the rankings are very fluid, almost ambiguous. They are complex so as to be able to evaluate in a completely objective manner. It is a variable index,” he explains.

Velo'v Station near Parc de la Tête d'Or, Lyon, France

“According to the methods described by Copenhagenize’s website, the ranking stems from 13 criteria, equally diverse and varied as “bike culture.” The criteria include the cyclists’ perception of their city and its inhabitants, ease of circulation and security biking on the road, dedicated infrastructures, and even the percentage of men and women amongst cyclists. In sum, the criteria is very subjective. However, the Copenhagenize index is influential amongst bikers. Gilles Vesco admits that he takes it into account.

Bike Traffic to Multiply

It is Copenhagen that occupies the number one slot of most bike-friendly cities in 2015, following Amsterdam, which held the spot last year. A first place achieved thanks to a large increase in biking as a mode of transit, as well as due to installations, projects, and new infrastructure in the city, including bike bridges.

Cycle bridge in Copenhagen, Denmark

Using these criteria, Lyon is not outdone. “Biking is becoming ever-more popular. Bike traffic should multiply by 3.5 times in the next 10 years. It should multiply by 2.5 between now and 2020,” explains Gilles Vesco. “In July, the several-year-long investments program (PPI) was presented for the years 2015-2020. One hundred-and-sixty million euros were allotted to the Active Modes of Transit Plan to improve walkability and bikeability. We anticipate more bike lanes, and we are continuing our bike parking policy.”

An Electric Bike

The projects go even further: beyond infrastructure, Lyon’s goals focus equally on the bikes themselves. “In 2017, Grand Lyon is going to decide the next steps in our contract with Vélo’v. We are going to invest in electric bikes, which should transform two-wheelers into a competitive mode of transit,” concludes Gilles Vesco. All this considered, Lyon can compete with the bike-friendly cities of the world and one day take home a Copenhagenize ranking.

Did your city make the Copenhagenize list? What is your city doing to improve its bike-friendliness? How is bike infrastructure in your city? Share your thoughts and your city's stories in the comments area below.

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

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Katelyn Hewett recently graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. During her time at St. Olaf, she enjoyed playing the French Horn in the St. Olaf Band, working as a teaching assistant for first-year...

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