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Dutch bicycle culture

by Dave Riley

From a press release published here on Derek Wall's blog that deals with bike culture in the Netherlands:

Quick Facts:
In Britain, under 2% of all journeys are made by bicycle. In the Netherlands the equivalent figure is around 30%.

In Britain, most journeys under 2 miles are made by car. In the Netherlands, more journeys under 5 miles are made by bicycle than by any other means.

In the Netherlands, older people are also mobile. Over 10% of cycle journeys are made by over 60s.

Virtually all Dutch school-children cycle to school.
The links below are well worth reviewing as there is a lot of information about the cultural promotion engaged with and some images of the Dutch bicycle infrastructure network:

If often seems that the English speaking world does not understand how the Dutch have been so successful with their cycle promotion. Why is it that the Netherlands has a cycling rate which is so far ahead of the rest of the world, and growing ?

It is also quite often assumed that Dutch drivers must be far better behaved than those in the UK and other countries in order that cyclists can have such a good degree of safety. Or the reason is put down to the country being relatively flat. However, these things couldn't possibly explain why the Dutch cycle for 20x as many journeys as people in English speaking countries do.

It actually comes down to a single point. Generally when you cycle in the Netherlands you are not sharing space with cars. This makes cycling very pleasant and relaxed. It reduces conflict with motorists and it leads to much greater safety. What isn't necesarily so obvious to outside observers from locations with less advanced cycling infrastructure is that it also leads to cyclists having journeys which are more direct than those of motorists. As a result, cycling is a much more appealing form of transport.

Flatness doesn't necessarily help. It results in very strong headwinds. Also, the Netherlands can be very cold and wet in the winter. However, the convenience of cycling wins out over these problems.

For more about bicycling as an adjunct to public transport visit my bike blog.

I think the infrastructure argument is so very important as it hones in on the key dynamic of promoting 'pedestrian cycling' rather than 'vehicular cycling'.

This factor becomes sharply evident if you take the two mile challenge. (Take it! It's fun!)
You are then offered a prism to locate bicycling with public transport usage in the context of god traffic and its carbon emissions.

For my personal bicycling references: here.

Now heres' a great idea -- from the Netherlands Socialist Party. A party that boasts its own cycling team deployed to promote its politics:

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