In May 2023, four European cities won the second edition of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) Awards. The four winners received their awards at ECF’s annual flagship conference, Velo-city, which took place in Leipzig, Germany.
The four winning cities in the four award categories were:
1. Helsingborg, Sweden – Cycling Infrastructure Award
Helsingborg’s stylish cycling and pedestrian Varvsbron Bridge signals the importance that the city places on active modes of transport in the city. The beautifully-designed bridge snakes its way over the city’s docks in a natural, meandering and gently sloping way, connecting up-and-coming neighbourhoods with the city centre and nearby public transport hubs, thereby encouraging people to walk or cycle into/out of the city centre.
2. The City of Essen, Germany – Cycle-Friendly Employer Award
The City of Essen won the Cycling Friendly Employer Award for its sponsorship of local organisations that promote cycling, as certified by the ECF. The city won a silver-level Cycle-Friendly Employer (CFE) certificate in 2019 and raised this to a gold-level certificate in 2022 for its efforts in sponsoring local cycle-friendly companies and organisations, as well as forming a cycle-friendly employers’ network of 18 CFE-certified companies in the city.
3. The City of Oslo, Norway – Road Safety Award
Over the last few years, Oslo has made impressive progress towards becoming one of the world’s safest cities for road users. The number of road users that considered the city safe for cycling was just 19% in 2014; in 2022, the number had risen to 31%! Significant adjustments have been made to the city’s streets, such as implementing a 30 km/h speed limit and removing over 700 on-street parking spaces within the city’s inner ring road. As a result, in 2019 Oslo became one of the first cities in Europe to achieve "Vision Zero", with zero road deaths on its streets, and ranks as one of the cities across Europe with the least cycling fatalities per year.
4. City of Heidelberg, Germany – Cycling Improvement Award
In 2022, the city reported a 17% increase in the number of cyclists on the city’s streets. The public bike-sharing service registered almost twice as many rentals, 325,165 compared to the previous year’s 166,465. Approximately 40% of the city’s residents now use bikes as their main mode of transport for trips within the city. Local authorities subsidise bike purchases and have an ambitious investment programme to create safe cycling connections between urban and rural areas, including improving rural-urban cycle paths and providing more bicycle parking. The city’s Mayor, Eckart Würzner, leads the transition by example, by providing cycling tours!
Article first published by Travel tomorrow on 12 May 2023.
Photo Credit: © William Perugini - no permission to re-use image(s) without separate licence from Shutterstock.