Dublin: Emerging Bicycle Cities

Photo credit: Copenhagenize Design Co.

This year Copenhagenize published their index of the top bicycle friendly cities in the world. Cities are judged on their efforts towards re-establishing the bicycle as a feasible, accepted, and practical form of transport. Criteria include: Advocacy, Bicycle Culture, Bicycle Facilities + Infrastructure, Bike Share Programme, Gender Split, Modal Share For Bicycles,Perception of Safety, Politics, Social Acceptance, Urban Planning + Traffic Calming.

As expected European cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen are at the top of the list, but what interested us were the new comers to the list and emerging bicycle cities like Barcelona, Seville, Dublin, Bordeaux. These cities have seen rapid growth of bicycle culture and are creating safe infrastructure for cyclists.

“The Emerging Bicycle Cities, they are not just transforming their own urban landscape, they are inspiring cities around the world in showing what is possible in a short amount of time. These are the visionaries”.

Dublin, Ireland

Population: 525,383

Area: 114.99 sq km

Density: 4,588/sq km



Dublin operates one of the most successful bike share schemes in the world. The system, titled Dublinbikes, was implemented in 2009 and is more than doubling its size with a massive expansion beginning this year. A large part of the success of Dublinbikes is its low cost to users. The City of Dublin reports that 96% of Dublinbikes trips have been free; the first 30 minutes of use have no charge. This cost structure encourages short, frequent trips.

Eric Jones [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons










To increase the safety and appeal of cycling in the city, Dublin has also implemented a 30 km/h speed zone on all streets within the city centre. This controversial measure has been hotly debated in cities across the world. Copenhagenize Consulting has released a report on the impact 30 km/h zones have had on cities across the globe. The following chart, from Copenhagenize Consulting’s report, helps illustrate increased safety as one of many benefits of 30 km/h zones.


from Analysis of 30 km/h Zones (Copenhagenize Consulting)

from Analysis of 30 km/h Zones (Copenhagenize Consulting)

Described by Copenhagenize as “the Great Bike Hope among Emerging Bicycle Cities,” the Irish capital has certainly found cycling success through its bike share scheme and low speed zones. According to the 2013 Copenhagenize Index 7.5% of Dubliners are travelling by bike; that number was 5.6% in 2006. Cape Town should study Dublin’s example if bike share is indeed implemented here.

copenhagenize index 2013

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  1. Support from Elected Officials Key to Dublin’s Bike Renaissance | Mobilizing the Region - July 8, 2013

    […] in 2011. No wonder then, that Dublin was named “the Great Bike Hope” on Copenhagenize’s Emerging Bicycle Cities in 2013. One of the many reasons for its topping the list is the growing popularity of the […]

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