Malmö: Emerging Bicycle Cities

Malmö, Sweden

Population: 303,873

Area: 157 sq km

Density: 1,918.4 / sq km





Malmö is the Swedish city located directly across the Øresund from Copenhagen; the eight-kilometer Øresund Bridge connects the two cities. Being so close to Copenhagen creates a substantial bicycle-friendly shadow that Malmö must live under. However, this Nordic city is quickly gaining a bicycle-culture spotlight of its own, and is setting a shining example for other Swedish cities. In 2006, the city of Malmö devised a clever campaign to get people out of their cars and onto their bicycles. The ‘No Ridiculous Car Trips’ campaign is aimed at helping the people of Malmö poke fun at themselves and their car usage, and in the process encouraging them to try cycling short trips instead of driving. The campaign has been hugely successful in the Swedish city and has received praise from a variety of bicycle-related organizations since inception.


This fantastic campaign is but one cog in the machine that keeps Malmö a bicycle-friendly city. To complement the “No Ridiculous Car Trips” campaign, Malmö uses the same bright orange as a recurring color in the city’s cycling infrastructure. Two “bicycle barometers” stationed in central Malmö count passing cyclists, a fun way to encourage people to continue raising the number. The city boasts an impressive array of other cycling infrastructure including: 60,000 cycle parking spots on municipal land, underground cycle parking at the central train station, and 470 km of separated-from-traffic cycleways. A comprehensive look at Malmö’s cycling infrastructure can be found here.












With such an extensive collection of bicycle facilities, Malmö surprisingly has not always received the global cycling praise it truly deserves. The 2011 Copenhagenize Index did not even list Malmö, despite the city receiving the #7 ranking in the 2013 index. With one in four trips being taken by bicycle in Malmö, one can surely expect this city to continue rising in the rankings. Cape Town can look to Malmö’s example when it comes to encouraging cycling and shifting minds sets around bicycle use. As more Capetonians start cycling and using their bikes for everyday transport needs, more investments will be made in the city’s cycling infrastructure.

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