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The world's largest bike parking garage in Utrecht, Netherlands. Photo by Abdullah Asiran/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

More Americans have embraced bicycling since the pandemic, but in terms of bike-friendliness, the United States lags far behind Europe.

Why it matters: The best cities for bicycling have safe, comfortable and well-connected bike networks, according to People for Bikes, an advocacy group based in Boulder, Colorado. And its new international ranking of bike-friendly cities shows U.S. cities have a lot to learn from their European counterparts.

By the numbers: Five of the top 10 cities for bicycling are in the Netherlands, and all but one — Provincetown, Massachusetts — are in Europe.

  • The top 10 U.S. cities are mostly tourist spots (like Cape Cod's Provincetown) or college towns like Berkeley, California; Boulder, Colorado, and tiny Alma, Michigan.

Details: The rankings of 767 cities in 12 countries are based on a combination of two factors: a network score and a community score.

  • The network score — which accounts for 80% of a city’s overall score — looks at how easily cyclists can get to grocery stores, hospitals, jobs, schools and transit hubs using "low-stress routes" (streets with 25 mph or lower speed limits, or busier streets with protected bike lanes).
  • The community score — which accounts for the other 20% — is based on the results of an online survey of bike users.

The top-ranked city on the list is Utrecht, near Amsterdam, where more than one-third of the Dutch city's 360,000 residents commute on bikes.

  • It's home to the world’s largest bicycle parking garage, a three-story structure that holds more than 12,500 bikes.
  • Throughout the city, digital signs point riders to the nearest bike parking, including the number of available spots. And they're all free.

What they're saying: "Making biking better means more than just building bike lanes — it’s about improving the entire bicycling experience. Massive investments in safe, convenient and free bike parking ensures riders are prioritized on and off their bikes," according to a People for Bikes blog post.

Go deeper

Updated Aug 9, 2021 - Economy & Business

This parking garage is a high-tech research lab

Rendering of the Detroit Smart Parking Lab. Photo: Bedrock

An urban laboratory is opening inside a Detroit garage to let researchers test new parking technologies for cities coping with shifting priorities.

Why it matters: Parking is a hassle for drivers in most cities, with experts attributing as much as 30% of traffic and emissions to cars searching for a parking spot. If cars could park themselves efficiently, it would ease some of those problems.

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan police reform negotiations end without deal

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) with Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in the Capitol in May 2021. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Bipartisan talks on reforming police tactics and accountability, prompted by George Floyd's murder in May 2020, have ended without a compromise, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a key negotiator, said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Lawmakers, led by Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Booker, had been working toward a bipartisan deal for months but things fell apart due to disagreements on qualified immunity and other issues.

Federal Reserve scales back expectations for economic recovery as Delta variant weighs

Fed chair Jerome Powell during a congressional hearing last year. (Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The Fed downgraded near-term expectations for the economy and the labor market, alongside hotter-than-expected inflation, in new estimates out on Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's the first time those closely-watched estimates reflect impact from the delta variant that's already rattled the labor market. Still, Fed chairman Jerome Powell said enough progress has been made to begin to pull back emergency-era measures that have supported the economy.