Sweden's third-largest city has been wise to look west across the Øresund to Copenhagen for inspiration, as opposed to north to Gothenburg and Stockholm. The latter two cities are huddled near mid-table and offer little in the way of innovation or political will, in sharp contrast to Malmö. The main city in Sweden's most bicycle-friendly region - Skåne - Malmö has been insistent on reestablishing the bicycle on the urban landscape. Their efforts have been rewarded with a climb up the Index to #6.
A highlight since 2013 was the opening of a bicycle parking facility at the train station that makes even Copenhagen look awkward. Since 2013 there has been continued focus on investment. Many of the City's projects over the past few years remain impressive when measured against global competition. Their No Ridiculous Car Trips behavioural campaign is still a benchmark for communication. A dedication to infrastructure is impressive, as well as designed facilities for bicycle use. They remain balanced on helmet promotion, in contrast to Stockholm and Gothenburg, which serves to encourage cycling.
Despite a rise on the ranking, we have heard of a waning interest from politicians to keep moving forward and our alarm bells are ringing. Investment risks being reallocated and plans for more visionary projects are becoming fewer and farther between. When you come this far, you don't stop.
It's going to be a tough region when you're a stone's throw from Copenhagen but Malmö is bold enough to keep pushing forward. Light years ahead of any other large Swedish city, Malmö can pride itself on its place on the Index and continue to develop and modernise itself.
Most inspiration has come from the city's proximity to Copenhagen. Still, Malmö insists - in places - on sub-standard infrastructure solutions that do not encourage the development of a coherent network and, by extension, an increase in cycling levels. More investment will ensure Malmö's leadership role in Sweden, as well as among cities of a similar size in the rest of Europe. Not capitalizing on that would be silly. When a city has been so visionary, it is a harder fall when the wheels stop rolling.