Sustainable micromobility, which Italian cities have the most cycle paths

More and more Italians use the bike or electric scooter to go to school or work

In 2023 the number of Italians who go to work by bicycle or electric scooter is increased by 6% compared to the previous year. In first place we find Padua, followed by Piacenza and Pescara on the podium of the cities with the most sustainable travel.

What emerges from the thirteenth edition of the Giretto d’Italia, the Legambiente initiative to promote “bike-to-work”, takes on importance with a view to transforming Italian cities into smart cities, an objective which requires greater diffusion of cycle paths .

In the 36 municipalities participating in the Giretto d’Italia 2023, 303 points for detecting the passage of cyclists were installed: the analyzes showed that 65,494 citizens moved with a bicycle or other means of electric micromobility on one day of the European Sustainable Mobility Week (from 16 to 22 September), 6% more than in 2022.

The data on “green travel” is particularly solid when it concerns the home-school or home-work route. For a concrete transformation of the concept of the city it is essential that citizens treat sustainable mobility as a factor of their daily movementsnot (just) as a pastime.

Which are the Italian cities where you go to work or school by bike

The greatest number of sustainable home-school and home-work trips occurred in Paduaa university city that it narrowly surpassed Piacenzawhile the bronze medal went to Pescarawhich enters the ranking for the first time and does so as a protagonist thanks to political interventions that have encouraged green mobility.

Positive notes also concern Rome And Palermo. In the capital, on the Nomentana cycle path, passages by bike or electric scooter have increased 6 times, 1636 compared to 291 in 2022while in Palermo, the increase waswell 77% in just one year. The rapid progress recorded in the two capitals leaves no room for justifications: green mobility is feasible if politics and citizens collaborate and make the right choices.

This is also demonstrated by sensational splash in Milan, which in 2023 saw a succession of accidents with cyclists as victims, a sign of road conditions still unsuitable for sustainable micromobility. The Lombardy capital, winner of the last edition, loses four positions in just one year and slips to fifth position with almost 33% fewer steps.

Overall, the 55% of cities recorded over 1000 cyclists, and more than 88% of cities had over 100 passes in the morning hours. Cities such as Ravenna, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia have recorded a percentage of over 10% of bicycle trips compared to the resident population (14.89%, 14.52% and 11.74% respectively) thanks to policies that encourage green and foresee greater travel investments in safety of cyclists or scooter riders.

Excellent examples to drive sustainable travel throughout Italy, which is still behind on this front. The Italian average of those who go to school or work by bike or electric scooter is just 3%.

Cities with the most cycle paths in Italy

The first element to encourage sustainable micromobility are cycle paths, the diffusion of which is very different between the Italian capitals. In absolute terms, Rome and Milan are the ones with the largest extension, with 317.1 and 298 kilometers respectively. However, this is a misleading statistic because these are also the two Italian cities with the most inhabitants.

Much more eloquent is the presence of cycle paths in relation to the surface area of ​​the municipality. Here Milan and Rome are not even on the podium, occupied by Padua (197.2 km of slopes per 100 km² of surface), Brescia (186.1 km) and Mantua (179.8), as reported by Openpolis. Mantua is also first in Italy for the ratio between extension of cycle paths and residents.

Once again, the gap between Northern and Southern Italy is abysmal.

As Openpolis highlights, in In Northern Italy there are as many as 72% of Italian cycle paths; almost half of the total (45%) in the north-east alone (surveys relating to 2021).

In central-southern Italy, on the contrary, the offer of cycle paths, even for minor residents, is far lower. In 14 municipalities – of which 11 in the south – there are less than 0.5 km per thousand children and young people. In Avellino, Naples and Viterbo the altitude drops below 150 metres.

While there is still much to do to make public transport sustainable, cycle paths become crucial to transforming our cities, but not only.

In fact, Openpolis underlines how the possibility of going to school by bike is important for the little ones, who can move around independently. This is also a great advantage for parents, who are often forced into a frenetic pace to take their children to school before going to work. All this between the exhaust pipes of cars lined up and the anger of stressed motorists already in the early hours of the morning.

Where you can go to school by bicycle

The presence of cycle paths has inexorable consequences on the mobility of inhabitants: in the 2021/22 school year, 79% of state school buildings connected to the cycle network
it was located in Northern Italy.

However, the average recorded in Italy is very far from this figure, where the connection to the cycle path is declared to be about one in 10 schools (9.2%), approximately 42% of buildings are not connected, while in the remaining 48.8% of cases the information is not available. The three regions with the most schools connected to cycle paths are Emilia-Romagna, Veneto and Lombardy. Here is the ranking of the regions with the most schools connected to cycle paths drawn up by Openpolis.

The construction of new cycle paths

The 3% of Italians who go to school or work by bike or electric scooter, recorded by Legambiente, and the 9.2% of school buildings connected to cycle paths, recorded by Openpolis, demonstrate that local authorities still have a lot to do, but sustainable mobility in Italy is improving.

From 2016 to 2021 there was a general increase in cycle paths throughout the country, with a +25.1% in the regional capitals. Good news, given the enormous territorial gap, is that cycle paths have increased especially in the south: +39.7%, compared to +22.1% in the north and +30.3% in central Italy. Despite this, the cities of the islands, where the cycle network has grown by a notable +46.8%, have just 160 km of cycle paths in 2021.

The path taken is the right one. We need to keep pedaling.