The most bicycle-friendly cities in Germany

Cycling to work - thanks to e-bikes from your employer and company bike leasing, this is not only easy to realise, but also financially worthwhile. But in which cities is cycling really fun? These are the most bike-friendly cities in Germany.


Cycling in Germany

‘And how is cycling in your city?’ The German Cyclists' Federation (ADFC) asks cyclists throughout Germany this question every two years. Around 245,000 people took part in the latest and tenth Cycling Climate Test in 2022. A total of 1,114 cities and municipalities were assessed. Participants often travel by bike. 63 per cent use their bike (almost) every day, 91 per cent at least once a week. More than 90 per cent have their own car or have access to a car. So they know the traffic situation from both perspectives.

This is not exactly good for cyclists. Even though cycling in German cities continues to increase, the participants' assessments are sobering. According to the survey, cycling friendliness has continued to decline slightly overall and is currently only adequate.

In large cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants, the situation has only improved slightly. Here, respondents rated recent improvements in the promotion of cycling, the availability of public bikes, parking facilities and parking offences more positively than last time. In rural areas, however, the cycling climate has not changed noticeably. In principle, the conditions for cycling are better here than in the big cities, as there is generally more space and fewer conflicts with cars, but there is no sign of a traffic turnaround in rural areas.


Bremen and Münster are the most bicycle-friendly cities in Germany

The frontrunners among the most bicycle-friendly cities in Germany are Bremen and Münster, followed by Frankfurt am Main, which has improved compared to the last survey, as well as Hanover, Karlsruhe and Freiburg im Breisgau. Several large cities are also making progress, such as Cologne, Bonn and Koblenz. Nevertheless, in many other cities, the situation for cyclists is still associated with major safety risks and there is still room for improvement. This is also confirmed by the result of the survey with a rather average score of 3.9. Germany is therefore not yet a cycling country. However, some cities can already be considered cycle-friendly. An overview:

Bremen

Bremen once again takes first place in the ranking of the most bicycle-friendly cities, followed by Frankfurt am Main and Hanover. The Hanseatic city has ranked first among the most bicycle-friendly cities for years, and not without reason: Bremen has a total of 821 kilometres of cycle paths. There are also many traffic-calmed cycle lanes where cyclists have priority. Many cafés in the city are bicycle-friendly and offer parking spaces. Cycle service stations equipped with repair kits, air pumps and tools help cyclists if they have a puncture.

And cycling in Bremen is set to get even better in the near future, as Bremen's Alte Neustadt district is to be transformed into a model cycling neighbourhood with passable asphalt instead of cobblestones by 2025.

Münster

Münster is in first place in the ranking of medium-sized cities, followed by Karlsruhe and Freiburg. Münster is known throughout Germany as a cycling city. The city in North Rhine-Westphalia has twice as many bicycles as inhabitants and the bike station at the main railway station is the largest of its kind in Germany with more than 3,500 parking spaces. Münster also has a cycle ring around the city centre in the form of the Promenade. It is also bicycle-friendly for commuters: in Münster and the surrounding Münsterland region, there are more than 4,500 kilometres of signposted cycle paths that promote safe commuting to work.

Hanover

The capital of Lower Saxony is known as a bicycle-friendly city, as it has over 700 kilometres of cycle paths and public transport that are easy to use by bike. There are also numerous bike-sharing services available. The city has also taken measures to slow down traffic and regularly organises ‘car-free days’.

Hanover has also done a number of other things to promote cycling. For example, the city has made it easy for commuters to leave their bikes at key transport hubs and switch to another mode of transport. The city has also set up bike-friendly zones where cars are only permitted to a limited extent or not at all and cyclists have priority.

Freiburg in Breisgau

Freiburg has a cycle network of more than 400 kilometres, making it an absolute cycling city. Over a third of journeys within the city can easily be made by bike or e-bike. The city regularly invests in wider and new cycle paths, safe crossings and better lighting to make e-biking more attractive and safer.


The most bike-friendly cities in the world

Which city is the most bicycle-friendly in the world and how do German cities compare internationally? The Global Bicycle Index 2022, compiled by Luko, an online insurance company based in Paris, provides an answer.

Luko assessed a total of 16 test points for the ranking of the 20 most bicycle-friendly cities worldwide. These include information on the percentage of bicycle and e-bike use, accident statistics and the number of cycle paths and roads separated from car traffic. The number of bike shops, the theft rate of bicycles and the number of bike and e-bike sharing schemes are also included in the assessment. For the study, Luko selected 90 cities from all over the world and classified them with a score of 1 to 100 based on the key categories mentioned.

The result: Utrecht in the Netherlands took first place with 77.84 points, making it the most bicycle-friendly city in the world according to the index. Münster in Germany follows in second place with a score of 65.93 and Antwerp in Belgium in third place with 60.51 points. The Danish capital Copenhagen, which is often described as best practice for cycling, is in fourth place in the ranking. Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands and ‘cycling capital’, is listed in fifth place in the ranking. Two other German cities also made it into the top ten: Bremen (47.81) and Hanover (46.7) took 9th and 10th place respectively. Other German cities: Hamburg (44.97) in 13th place, Leipzig (44.25) in 14th place, Nuremberg (43.62) in 17th place and Berlin (42.59) in 19th place. This makes Germany the country with the most cities in the ranking of the world's most bicycle-friendly cities with seven places.

The ranking of the 20 most bike-friendly cities in the world

  1. Utrecht, Netherlands
  2. Münster, Germany
  3. Antwerp, Belgium
  4. Copenhagen, Denmark
  5. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  6. Malmö, Sweden
  7. Hangzhou, China
  8. Bern, Switzerland
  9. Bremen, Germany
  10. Hanover, Germany
  11. Strasbourg, France
  12. Bordeaux, France
  13. Hamburg, Germany
  14. Leipzig, Germany
  15. Bristol, Great Britain
  16. Montreal, Canada
  17. Nuremberg, Germany
  18. Innsbruck, Austria
  19. Berlin, Germany
  20. Melbourne, Australia

Stefan Wendering
Stefan is a freelance writer and editor at NAVIT. Previously, he worked for startups and in the mobility cosmos. He is an expert in urban and sustainable mobility, employee benefits and new work. Besides blog content, he also creates marketing materials, taglines and content for websites and case studies.

Cycling to work - thanks to e-bikes from your employer and company bike leasing, this is not only easy to realise, but also financially worthwhile. But in which cities is cycling really fun? These are the most bike-friendly cities in Germany.


Cycling in Germany

‘And how is cycling in your city?’ The German Cyclists' Federation (ADFC) asks cyclists throughout Germany this question every two years. Around 245,000 people took part in the latest and tenth Cycling Climate Test in 2022. A total of 1,114 cities and municipalities were assessed. Participants often travel by bike. 63 per cent use their bike (almost) every day, 91 per cent at least once a week. More than 90 per cent have their own car or have access to a car. So they know the traffic situation from both perspectives.

This is not exactly good for cyclists. Even though cycling in German cities continues to increase, the participants' assessments are sobering. According to the survey, cycling friendliness has continued to decline slightly overall and is currently only adequate.

In large cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants, the situation has only improved slightly. Here, respondents rated recent improvements in the promotion of cycling, the availability of public bikes, parking facilities and parking offences more positively than last time. In rural areas, however, the cycling climate has not changed noticeably. In principle, the conditions for cycling are better here than in the big cities, as there is generally more space and fewer conflicts with cars, but there is no sign of a traffic turnaround in rural areas.


Bremen and Münster are the most bicycle-friendly cities in Germany

The frontrunners among the most bicycle-friendly cities in Germany are Bremen and Münster, followed by Frankfurt am Main, which has improved compared to the last survey, as well as Hanover, Karlsruhe and Freiburg im Breisgau. Several large cities are also making progress, such as Cologne, Bonn and Koblenz. Nevertheless, in many other cities, the situation for cyclists is still associated with major safety risks and there is still room for improvement. This is also confirmed by the result of the survey with a rather average score of 3.9. Germany is therefore not yet a cycling country. However, some cities can already be considered cycle-friendly. An overview:

Bremen

Bremen once again takes first place in the ranking of the most bicycle-friendly cities, followed by Frankfurt am Main and Hanover. The Hanseatic city has ranked first among the most bicycle-friendly cities for years, and not without reason: Bremen has a total of 821 kilometres of cycle paths. There are also many traffic-calmed cycle lanes where cyclists have priority. Many cafés in the city are bicycle-friendly and offer parking spaces. Cycle service stations equipped with repair kits, air pumps and tools help cyclists if they have a puncture.

And cycling in Bremen is set to get even better in the near future, as Bremen's Alte Neustadt district is to be transformed into a model cycling neighbourhood with passable asphalt instead of cobblestones by 2025.

Münster

Münster is in first place in the ranking of medium-sized cities, followed by Karlsruhe and Freiburg. Münster is known throughout Germany as a cycling city. The city in North Rhine-Westphalia has twice as many bicycles as inhabitants and the bike station at the main railway station is the largest of its kind in Germany with more than 3,500 parking spaces. Münster also has a cycle ring around the city centre in the form of the Promenade. It is also bicycle-friendly for commuters: in Münster and the surrounding Münsterland region, there are more than 4,500 kilometres of signposted cycle paths that promote safe commuting to work.

Hanover

The capital of Lower Saxony is known as a bicycle-friendly city, as it has over 700 kilometres of cycle paths and public transport that are easy to use by bike. There are also numerous bike-sharing services available. The city has also taken measures to slow down traffic and regularly organises ‘car-free days’.

Hanover has also done a number of other things to promote cycling. For example, the city has made it easy for commuters to leave their bikes at key transport hubs and switch to another mode of transport. The city has also set up bike-friendly zones where cars are only permitted to a limited extent or not at all and cyclists have priority.

Freiburg in Breisgau

Freiburg has a cycle network of more than 400 kilometres, making it an absolute cycling city. Over a third of journeys within the city can easily be made by bike or e-bike. The city regularly invests in wider and new cycle paths, safe crossings and better lighting to make e-biking more attractive and safer.


The most bike-friendly cities in the world

Which city is the most bicycle-friendly in the world and how do German cities compare internationally? The Global Bicycle Index 2022, compiled by Luko, an online insurance company based in Paris, provides an answer.

Luko assessed a total of 16 test points for the ranking of the 20 most bicycle-friendly cities worldwide. These include information on the percentage of bicycle and e-bike use, accident statistics and the number of cycle paths and roads separated from car traffic. The number of bike shops, the theft rate of bicycles and the number of bike and e-bike sharing schemes are also included in the assessment. For the study, Luko selected 90 cities from all over the world and classified them with a score of 1 to 100 based on the key categories mentioned.

The result: Utrecht in the Netherlands took first place with 77.84 points, making it the most bicycle-friendly city in the world according to the index. Münster in Germany follows in second place with a score of 65.93 and Antwerp in Belgium in third place with 60.51 points. The Danish capital Copenhagen, which is often described as best practice for cycling, is in fourth place in the ranking. Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands and ‘cycling capital’, is listed in fifth place in the ranking. Two other German cities also made it into the top ten: Bremen (47.81) and Hanover (46.7) took 9th and 10th place respectively. Other German cities: Hamburg (44.97) in 13th place, Leipzig (44.25) in 14th place, Nuremberg (43.62) in 17th place and Berlin (42.59) in 19th place. This makes Germany the country with the most cities in the ranking of the world's most bicycle-friendly cities with seven places.

The ranking of the 20 most bike-friendly cities in the world

  1. Utrecht, Netherlands
  2. Münster, Germany
  3. Antwerp, Belgium
  4. Copenhagen, Denmark
  5. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  6. Malmö, Sweden
  7. Hangzhou, China
  8. Bern, Switzerland
  9. Bremen, Germany
  10. Hanover, Germany
  11. Strasbourg, France
  12. Bordeaux, France
  13. Hamburg, Germany
  14. Leipzig, Germany
  15. Bristol, Great Britain
  16. Montreal, Canada
  17. Nuremberg, Germany
  18. Innsbruck, Austria
  19. Berlin, Germany
  20. Melbourne, Australia