The Copenhagenize Index – We Got Robbed!

Last week the “Copenhagenize Index” was released, and believe it or not Minneapolis is nowhere to be found.  The first question to ask is, what exactly is the Copenhagenize Index?  It is a list of the top 20 list of the most bicycle-friendly cities around the world based on this list of criteria.   Of course this is as subjective as it comes but before reading through the list the thought did cross our mind that perhaps if any city in the United States could make its way onto the list it would be Minneapolis.  Well, the good news is three cities in the US did make the list, but we aren’t one of them (Portland, San Francisco, and New York City).

Maybe it is our massive mid-western inferiority complex working overtime, but wait, how did we, the # 1 Bike City in the United States, not make the list when three other US cities did?  That’s like the MVP of a team sitting at home watching three of his or her teammate get picked for the all-star game, what gives?

Before we over-reacted we did take a close look at the criteria and the about page to see if there is some sort of size-restriction that would preclude us due to a technicality, here is what they have to say:

“The smallest city to make the Top 20 list is Portland. We are aware that it doesn’t technically fit into the major cities category, but we were curious to see how the USA’s top cycling city would fare. Not to mention the fact that we’d never hear the end of it from Portlanders if we didn’t include them.”

Fact: Portland is the 23rd largest US City, seven spots behind Minneapolis.

Fact: Portland is not the “USA’s top cycling city”

So, that means that the only reason they made the list is because they are louder whiners?  Well, instead of whining we present to you our Curriculum Vitae:

How is the city’s (or region/country) advocacy NGO regarded and what level of influence does it have? Rated from no organized advocacy to strong advocacy with political influence. The most difficult thing here is speaking with one voice, we have the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee, the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, Bikes Belong is based in Bloomington, we could go on…

Bicycle Culture:
Has the bicycle reestablished itself as transport among regular citizens or only sub-cultures?
Rated from no bicycles on the urban landscape/only sporty cyclists to mainstream acceptance of the bicycle. – Bicycles are everywhere here, including through out the winter.

Bicycle Facilities:
Are there readily accessible bike racks, ramps on stairs, space allocated on trains and buses and well-designed wayfinding, etc?
Rated from no bicycle facilities available to widespread and innovative facilities. We have space on our light rail for bikes, two racks on the front of every bus and signage everywhere. 

Bicycle Infrastructure:
How does the city’s bicycle infrastructure rate?
Rated from no infrastructure/cyclists relegated to using car lanes to high level of safe, separated cycle tracks.  – 180 Miles of bike lanes and trails, and oh yeah, they plow them in the wintertime. 

Bike Share Programme: Does the city have a comprehensive and well-used bike-sharing programme? Rated from no bike share programme to comprehensive, high-usage programme. – Nice Ride is a model for sharing throughout the rest of the country.  It has almost doubled in size in less than two years.

Gender Split: What percentage of the city’s cyclists are male and female?
Rated from overwhelming male to an even gender split or better.
National average of women cyclists? 26.4% In Minneapolis? Between 31-45%

Modal Share For Bicycles:
What percentage of modal share is made up by cyclists?3.86%, which is good enough to rank us 2nd in the US, above New York and San Francisco. 

Modal Share Increase Since 2006:
What has the increase in modal share been since 2006 – the year that urban cycling started to kick off?
Rated from under 1% to 5%+. –It has doubled since 2000.

Perception of Safety:
Is the perception of safety of the cyclists in the city, reflected in helmet-wearing rates, positive or are cyclists riding scared due to helmet promotion and scare campaigns? – No required helmets or scare campaigns. 


What is the political climate regarding urban cycling? Rated from the bicycle being non-existent on a political level to active political involvement. – Mayor R.T. Rybak champion of all things cycling, and ice cream maker

Social Acceptance:
How do drivers and the community at large regard urban cyclists?
Rated from no social acceptance to widespread social acceptance. – We are working on that, but aside from the occasional news story, more cyclists on the roads mean less honking and more safe passing from drivers.

Urban Planning:
How much emphasis do the city’s planners place on bicycle infrastructure – and are they well-informed about international best practice?
Rated from car-centric urban planners to planners who think bicycle – and pedestrian – first. – See the news story link in the previous response, new lanes and infrastructure is being added all of the time, there is a master plan and it is funded and is being executed. 

Traffic Calming:
What efforts have been made to lower speed limits in and generally calm traffic in order to provide greater safety to pedestrians and cyclists?
Rated from none at all to extensive traffic-calming measures prioritising cyclists and pedestrians in the traffic hierarchy. – Safe routes to school and bicycle boulevards are helping to set you city apart when it comes to innovative traffic calming and bike forward thinking. 


So after seeing the facts what do you think Minneapolis, we’ve been robbed!  Email these folks ( let them know, we won’t be ignored!

This entry was posted in Infrastructure, Twin Cities Cyclist and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Copenhagenize Index – We Got Robbed!

  1. joey says:

    Don’t confuse the MSA with the city. Portland itself has 200,000 more people than Minneapolis, even if the Metropolitan Statistical Area is smaller. Minneapolis the city, not MSP the MSA was ranked in the top 3 biking cities, so excluding Minneapolis from the Copenhagenize Index based on small population makes sense. Still, you would think that they might want to include the top 3 bicycling cities in the US regardless of size.

  2. ted says:

    So Amsterdam out Copenhized Copenhagen?

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