The results of a 2022 survey of 1,236 cities have been published by ‘People For Bikes’, with Townsville scoring the dubious honour of being the worst place in Australia to ride a bike with a rating of 24. Of the state capitals, Sydney is scored the poorest with a rating of just 26.

By Rob Arnold

Australian towns and cities are listed amongst the worst in the world for “cyclability” according to results from a 2022 survey by People For Bikes released yesterday.

The bottom of list that includes 1,236 towns and cities is dominated by various locations in the United States, with Oak Park, Illinois referenced as the worst place to ride a bike with a rating of just two points. This is followed by a list of 514 sites in the US before Dudley in the West Midlands of England earns a mention as the first place in another country with poor infrastructure for cycling (with a rating of 21).

Of the 36 Australian cities surveyed by People For Bikes, Townsville in Queensland is listed as the worst, scoring only 23 points. Slightly further down the list are two locations in NSW, the Central Coast and Orange (both earning just 25 points).

When it comes to our state capitals, Sydney ranked worst with a rating of just 26 points (which is matched by Newcastle, Toowoomba and Melton).

Meanwhile, the national capital is listed as the city in Australia that has the best conditions for cycling with Canberra earning a rating of 53 points, closely followed by Alice Springs (51) then Hervey Bay (45).

According to a 2022 survey by Bike For People, here are the top 10 cities for “cyclability”.

The Netherlands continues to set the standard

At the top of the list of cities for “cyclability” is The Hague in The Netherlands (89 points) with three other Dutch cities listed in the top 10: Utrecht (3rd with 84pts), then Amsterdam (7th, 82pts) and Groningen in the north of The Netherlands (10th, 80pts).

In sixth place in the “cyclability” rankings is Paris, with a population of over two million and a rating of 83 points.

The ‘City Ratings’ program director, Rebecca Davies, outlines the objectives of the survey from 2022 saying it highlights “factors like the quality of bike infrastructure and street speed limits”.

The People For Bikes project is backed by Trek Australia who issued a press release about the survey yesterday. The hope is that it will provide a catalyst for improving conditions for bike riding by demonstrating where – and how – various towns and cities have been able to achieve a safer environment for cycling.

With a population of over nine million Mexico City enjoys a “cyclability” rating of 57, over double the score achieved by Australia’s most populated city, Sydney (with 26).

“The Bicycle Transport Analysis tool provides the basis for each city’s score,” explains Davies, “demonstrating how easy it is for residents to get to key services like grocery stores, employment, healthcare and more. Not only does the analysis highlight if riders can get to these places, it shows how safe it is to do so.”

Melbourne boasts a significantly highest rating for cycling than Sydney earning 42 points from the 2022 survey, suggesting it is the friendliest state capital for bike riders.

Wollongong, host city of the UCI Road Worlds last year – and the only UCI Bike City in Australia – rates poorly in the survey with a score of just 29.


Below is a list of the Australian locations of the survey and their “cyclability” score.

Location Score
Canberra, ACT 53
Alice Springs, NT 50
Hervey Bay, QLD 45
Mackay, QLD 43
Melbourne, VIC 42
Sunshine Coast, QLD 42
Kempsey, NSW 37
Darwin, NT 36
Wagga Wagga, NSW 36
Bendigo, VIC 32
Brisbane, QLD 32
Mildura, VIC 32
Perth, WA 32
Taree, NSW 32
Bundaberg, QLD 31
Geelong, VIC 31
Mount Gambier, SA 31
Batemans Bay, NSW 30
Bathurst, NSW 30
Coffs Harbour 30
Gold Coast, QLD 29
Hobart, TAS 29
Wollongong, NSW 29
Ballarat, VIC 28
Cairns, QLD 28
Rockhampton, QLD 28
Adelaide, SA 27
Bunbury, WA 27
Launceston, TAS 26
Melton, VIC 26
Newcastle, NSW 26
Sydney, NSW 26
Toowoomba, QLD 26
Central Coast, NSW 25
Orange, NSW 25
Townsville, QLD 23


– By Rob Arnold