Ljubljana is a new city on the Copenhagenize Index and, its inaugural appearance, the Slovenian capital rolls smoothly and confidently into the Top 20. Ljubljana's journey started in the late 60s and early 70s when 40 km of Copenhagen style cycle tracks were built across the city and cycling levels exploded. They maintained a respectable level of cycling for decades but now the city is once again placing focus on how to increase cycling levels - as well as how to make Ljubljana generally a more liveable city. The city has been chosen as the European Green Capital in 2016 and concerted efforts are being made to increase cycling levels. New developments have infrastructure planned from the beginning and the city's bike share programme helps make the bicycle a staple transport form for the citizens. We see serious political movement in Ljubljana to establish itself as one of the world's great bicycle cities. The current 12% modal share is impressive and with 133 km of bike lanes and 73 km of cycle tracks, Ljubljana is well positioned for further growth.
As a national capital in a region with many national capitals, Ljubljana is in a strong position as a bicycle-friendly city. Down the road, Zagreb ranks in mid-table with modest efforts to embrace bicycle urbanism but the rest of the Balkans seem uninterested in transport modernisation. To the north-east, Vienna keeps Ljubljana company in the Top 20, while Budapest sees itself slip up and finish just outside the Copenhagenize Index after appearing in the last two rankings.
More than most cities in the world, Ljubljana has the experience of increasing cycling rapidly with well-designed infrastructure. That 1970s lesson should form the foundation of the city's work today - and for the next 100 years. All the talk of becoming a green capital is great but the bicycle will - as it always has - lead the way. Better infrastructure, better network. Think bicycle first.