London is leading the way for cycling in England but falls short of its European counterparts, according to PeopleForBikes.
The 2022 City Ratings data is a ranking of cities’ cyclability by the US advocacy group, and has been calculated annually since 2017.
The aim of this data is to highlight the best cities and towns for cycling, as well as provide city leaders with actionable insights to make cycling better in their communities.
This year, the data for England focussed on London, Manchester, and the West Midlands.
The ratings draw from two factors, the quality of the cycling network in a borough and community perceptions of cycling.
The first is sourced from the PeopleForBikes bicycle network analysis and the second from surveys with local residents.
More than 50 boroughs were rated, with the average Bicycle Network Analysis score for all boroughs being 42/100.
Access to retail destinations scored best for all boroughs with an average of 55, whereas access to people scored the worst, at an average of 28.
When it comes to overall ratings, London leads the way with 18 of the top 20 boroughs being within the capital.
Two London boroughs featured in the top 20 internationally when compared with cities outside the UK.
However, London continues to trail behind its European counterparts with an average score of 49.8 compared to Paris’ score of 82.56 and Berlin’s of 77.75.
Manchester has an average score of 30 and the West Midlands a score of 26.
In the global rankings, three countries fill the top ten positions. The Netherlands has three cities in the top 10.
The Hague sits top of the pile at 88.97, while Utrecht and Amsterdam rank highly at 84.05 and 82.8 respectively.
Germany has two cities in the top ten, as does France and Belgium.
The UK’s top city in the list is Edinburgh, sitting in 12th place.
If it were a city, Hackney would rank 18th, this is likely due to significant steps that the borough has taken in recent years, delivering high quality cycling infrastructure and measures to reduce traffic.
London as a whole ranks 47th, a drop of three places from the previous year but still making it the only English city in the top 50.
Manchester’s Metro area ranks 53rd and Birmingham 56th.
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According to PeopleForBikes, every ten points’ increase correlates to a linear growth in ridership.
A score of 50 indicates there’s enough cycle infrastructure in place for more rapid cycling growth, a point at which ridership “breaks from a linear relationship to an exponential relationship”.
At this point, cycling starts to become more convenient than driving.
Jenn Dice, PeopleForBikes president and CEO said: ‘’Building safe, connected bike networks is key to growing cycling worldwide, which is why PeopleForBikes created the City Ratings program.
“We know that when people feel safe and comfortable riding a bike, they are more likely to cycle to everyday destinations like school, work, and the grocery store.
“We are excited to see a growing commitment to cycling and building better bike networks throughout the United Kingdom.”