Spiegel Online is featuring this short article about a new global index on the quality of cycling in global cities. The index was prepared by a Danish blogger and cycling expert who runs the blog Copenhagenize.eu. No surprise, Amsterdam and Copenhagen top the ranking of 20 cities. Sadly though only one Asian city makes it into the index: Tokyo (a very positive top 4). Unfortunately, it is not clear if other Asian cities are excluded because they have not been considered for assessment or because of their low quality of cycling infrastructure. Of all the big Asian cities I have seen, none struck me with any kind of an impressive cycling environment (Taipeh possibly having the biggest chances though).
Singapore (for once) trailing global cities in life quality?
After having spent a bit of time in Singapore, I wonder why this city is not investing far more attention and infrastructure to cycling. Surely, the all-year humid climate and temperatures for 30 degress during the day are not permitting a cool 10-minute bike-ride to university as relaxed as in Berlin. But then again, the government is very keen to emphasise health issues and constraining car traffic with some of the highest obstacles (i.e. prices) to car driving in the world. Would it not make more sense to start providing bike lanes on at least the big roads? Nowadays, you do not even know where to go as a cyclist in Singapore because roads are crowded and dangerous – and pavements are often too narrow even to walk.
Just like in other business metropolis, many offices (read: banks) and public institutions (read: schools, universities or even ministries) already have showers and changing rooms so that even longer bike rides to work or school should pose no major obstacle. I just do not know why Singapore politicians do not see cycling as such a big chance to ramp up the ‘green’ image of their city?
A particularly positive cultural side-effect of opening Singapore to cycling would be that its citizens would regain a more natural affiliation to their city. While the typical Singaporean today is avoiding even the 5-minute walk to the super market around the corner, creating a ‘hipness’ about biking and bikes might also allow them to appreciate the physical nature and spacial use of their city much more.