Minneapolis has been praised for years as one of the best bike cities in the country. The back and forth with Portland for title of U.S. Best is almost a running (biking?) joke at this point.
But it seems the competition is over, as Minneapolis just broke into the international scene.
The rankings come from Wired Magazine. Using the Copenhagenize Design Company’s Index of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, it is one of the most prestigious, and strictest, bikeability indexes you can find.
And, for the first time,
Minneapolis came in 18th, and was the only U.S. city included in the top 20
just ahead of Hamburg, Germany, and just behind Paris, France. Importantly, it puts the city in the company of the world’s most forward-thinking transit cities, the Amsterdams and the Copenhagens, that are literally paving the way for a brighter future. And where other cities around the world have been slipping (Tokyo, Japan and Munich, Germany were dropped from the list), Minneapolis is only getting started.
(Read the full index and criteria here: The 20 Most Bike-Friendly Cities on the Planet)
The Minnesota winter worked well in our favor. Our commitment to staying on two wheels through the cold-weather months makes us some of the toughest bikers in the world. But it’s not just our cyclists, but the initiatives coming from City Hall to support them that factors into the ranking: Minneapolis biking infrastructure, the 120 miles of on-street bikeways, and especially designated routes like the Midtown Greenway, played a key role in our inclusion.
There were also a few suggestions; room for improvement that could lift Minnesota’s largest city even higher. While we certainly got points for hustling through frigid weather, the city could be doing more to encourage winter biking. As stated in the index,
Better infrastructure maintenance during the winter is key. Prioritize snow clearance on the bike infrastructure above all else.
The important takeaway is that a city tucked away in the up-north of the country managed to be the only one to break the top 20. Whether this speaks to Minneapolis’ ingenuity, or the rest of the country’s laziness, is debatable. We suspect that it may be a little of both, as Minneapolis (and St. Paul now as well) has clearly taken steps to support biking as more than just a leisure activity while more than half of America never gets on a bike.