Which City Has the Most Cyclists? [STATISTICS]

One of the greatest global trends is that of urban mobility – i.e. the way people are moving around cities is changing.

The days of cities clogged with cars is dying rapidly, while case studies in the likes of the Netherlands and Denmark make a clear case for a people-first movement focussed around walking, cycling and other green means of travel.

As various cities (such as Manchester, UK), make the effort of expanding their infrastructure, cycling continues to be the most efficient and reliable form of urban mobility. Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, cities globally have seen a spike of inhabitants opting to use a bicycle to commute to work and school.

But which city has the best cycling accommodations and therefore, the most cyclists?

Where is Cycling Most Popular? 

With 90% of it’s 16.8 million population being regular cyclists, it’s no surprise that the Netherlands is considered the most popular place for cycling. 20% of all trips are many in the country, while it has boasted the highest number of cyclists per capita for over a century.

Meanwhile, the UK ranks among the worst for the number of regular cyclists. With an average of only 8% of the population claiming to cycle more than three times a week. Yet, this did almost double in light of the COVID-19 pandemic – see more on this below.

Which Countries Have the Most Cyclists [Top 5]

There are estimated to be about 1 billion bicycles globally. By 2050, this could double, with over 50% of the population knowing how to ride a bike. The record-holding country for the most cyclists is the Netherlands, with some of its European neighbours following closely behind.

Mainland Europe evidently takes the reign when it comes to cycling:

CountryPopulationBicyclesCyclists
Netherlands16,652,80016,500,000~99.1%
Denmark5,560,6284,500,000~80.1%
Germany81,802,00062,000,000~75.8%
Sweden9,418,7326,000,000~63.7%
Norway4,943,0003,000,000~60.7%

To put the above numbers into perspective, here are the statistics for the UK and the USA in comparison:

USA310,936,000100,000,000~32.2%
UK68,281,7988,900,000~16%

For the UK, the percentage of cyclists has only recently increased to ~16%, with much of this growth having been a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Which City Uses Bikes the Most?

While the Netherlands is the country with the most cyclists per capita, the city with the most cyclists is actually Copenhagen, Denmark. Up to 62% of Copenhagen’s population use a bicycle for their daily commute to work or school, and they cycle an average of 894,000 miles every day.

Copenhagen has built up an extraordinary momentum for cyclists in the city over the past 20 years. In the city, there are currently four bicycle-specific bridges either already built or amidst construction (including the Alfred Nobel’s Bridge), as well as 104 miles of brand-new regional cycling roads and 5.5 metre wide bike lanes on its newer routes. That is equivalent to more than £30 per capita in cycling infrastructures. 

However, with Copenhagen ranking at 90.4%, Amsterdam at 89.3%, and Ultrecht at 88.4% in terms of cyclist accessibility in the Copenhagenize Index of 2019, the competition to be the best cycling city is incredibly close.

What is the Most Bicycle Friendly Country?

Denmark overthrows all in terms of being the most bicycle friendly country globally. As per the previously-mentioned Copenhagenize Index of 2019, which ranks cities based upon their streetscape, culture, and ambition for cyclists, Copenhagen itself ranks above all with a score of 90.4%.

As perhaps the best cycling city, not just in its own country, but also the entire world, Copenhagen overtook Amsterdam (Netherlands) back in 2015 and has only improved the accessibility for cyclists ever since. Yet, as of 2019, the difference between the two cities has only been by a small margin of 0.9%. When the next Copenhagenize Index is released this year, there is every chance that we could see the Netherlands regain the top spot as the most bicycle friendly country.

If you think it is now perhaps time that you opt to cycle more, check out our visual guide to find out which bike might be best for your daily commute.

Kelsey Raynor

Kelsey Raynor

Kelsey is a digital marketer, writer and content creator based in Manchester, England. With a particular passion for sports journalism, she is dedicated to encouraging more women to write about sports and athletics. See Kelsey's portfolio here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *