A 2014 pilot program near Amsterdam replaced the normal surface with a specially coated path embedded with solar panels. One of the most romantic ways to spend a holiday is to just cycle somewhere beautiful with someone you love. And the Dutch do cycling for two better than most—tandem bikes, family bikes, and even just holding hands while you pedal along a canal. The cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands is so well thought out that cycling accidents are surprisingly low, especially considering how many people bike. Why is cycling so popular in Netherlands? These are clearly marked, have smooth surfaces, separate signs and lights for those on two wheels, and wide enough to allow side-by-side cycling and overtaking. Bakfiets literally translates into ‘box bike’, a popular cargo bike that the Dutch use to carry almost anything (including children of all ages) from place to place. That makes it safe for ordinary people who don't want to be urban bike commandos to make trips by bike. But why is cycling so popular in the Scandinavian country? Far from being a scene of chaos, it’s actually a beautiful, organically choreographed spectacle that you really should see to believe. By 1911, the Dutch owned more bicycles per capita than any other country in Europe. Cycling in The Netherlands as a foreigner is an experience. are 18, cycling offers Dutch teenagers an alternative form of freedom. Road deaths in the Netherlands peaked in 1972 with over 3000 fatalities registered (from a population of around 13 million at the time) and in the following year 450 children were killed on Dutch roads. Why is cycling so popular in the Netherlands? There are more bicycles than residents in The Netherlands and in cities like Amsterdam and The Hague up to 70% of all journeys are made by bike. The idea that "the bike is right" is such an alien concept for tourists on bikes that many often find it difficult to navigate roads and junctions at first. Bike parking facilities are ubiquitous in The Netherlands - outside schools, office buildings and shops. There aren't many hills, its for the most part very safe and bicyclists have a place in the transit system that feels very comfortable and, indeed 'right'. To make cycling safer and more inviting the Dutch have built a vast network of cycle paths. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Why is cycling so popular in the Netherlands? Cyclists are accommodated in the way motorists are elsewhere, with electronic counters at the entrance registering how many spaces are available. You may be fined for riding recklessly, in the wrong place or jumping red lights. Why Is Cycling so Popular in the Netherlands? Cycling has a modal share of 27% of all trips (urban and rural) nationwide. Sometimes, where space is scant and both must share, you can see signs showing an image of a cyclist with a car behind accompanied by the words 'Bike Street: Cars are guests'. 16. Before World War II, journeys in the Netherlands were predominantly made by bike, but in the 1950s and 1960s, as car ownership rocketed, this changed. From the sectionMagazine. Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 17:00 (CET), > Blog > 10 reasons why cycling in the Netherlands is so popular. Completed in 2019, this beautiful and functional garage can accommodate 12,500 bikes. In that kind of relationship it is longevity that counts - so the older, the better. They don't - the cycling mode share in many flat British cities languishes at around 1-2%, far below the typical 30%+ mode share in Dutch cities. In cities this is even higher, such as Amsterdam which has 38%, and Zwolle 46%. Reply. And how did the bicycle become synonymous with Dutch culture? In 1971 more than 3,000 people were killed by motor vehicles, 450 of them children. More than a quarter of all trips are made by bicycle, compared with 2% in the UK – … But beware: the pace on bike paths has speeded up and they have become more crowded. Anna Holligan takes to the saddle to find out. All schools have places to park bikes and at some schools 90% … The average adult pedals about 1,000 km a year, and teenagers cycle twice as far! Why is cycling so popular in the Netherlands? As the children grow up they take to their own bikes, something made easier and safer by the discrete cycle lanes being wide enough for children to ride alongside an accompanying adult. Even though most of England in dense many still use the car as proffered form of transport What I learnt about by watching that first youtube link was that it is possible to ride a bike wearing normal day clothes and nobody wore a helmet either.. bike riding has already become more appealing on those two accounts.. The European Cyclists’ Federation compiles statistics about bike safety in Europe every year, and the Netherlands often takes top spot – probably a good thing, given our aversion to helmets! In its first year, the 70 mt-long solar bike path delivered 9,800 kWh of electricity to the grid. Cycling is so common that I have been rebuked for asking people whether they are cyclists or not. There are dangers on the roads, but very rarely do they involve heavy goods vehicles, poorly designed junctions or dangerous drivers. © 2021 BBC. By clicking the box above, you agree to the terms of our Privacy Policy. Cycling. As in many countries in Europe, roads became increasingly congested and cyclists were squeezed to the kerb. The bike is an integral part of everyday life rather than a specialist’s accessory or a symbol of a minority lifestyle, so Dutch people don’t concern themselves with having the very latest model of bike or hi-tech gadgets. As cycling is so common in the Netherlands, Holligan asked the people in the town whether it was a cyclist and it was said that he was angry that it was "not a cyclist, but a Dutchman." And if you want to stay close there are plenty of options: from tandem bikes to family bikes, or just holding hands riding along a canal. If you see someone wearing a cycling helmet in The Netherlands, the chances are they're a tourist or a professional. 9. Of course, the cycle paths lend themselves to sauntering along in summer dresses in a way a death-defying, white-knuckle ride in rush-hour traffic does not. At roundabouts, too, it is those using pedal power who have priority. By biernack August 8, 2013 bicycle bike Netherlands I have stumbled upon an interesting article about bikes in the Netherlands by the BBC: I bought a helmet for my ride to the UK reporting for BBC Newsnight on the differences between cycling in The Netherlands and the UK. "We aren't cyclists, we're just Dutch," comes the response. No one has time to change outfits five times a day, plus it’s so flat that you rarely work up a sweat. At home, even people who live in flats without special bike storage facilities can expect to be allowed to leave their bikes in a communal hallway. Meet the man who cycles nearly 100 miles a day, every day, The policeman in a MAGA hat. Today we're having a conversation why so many people ride bikes instead of cars in the Netherlands and why that has nothing to do with the fact that the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. In return you are expected to only lock up your bike in designated spots - if you chain your bike in the wrong place you could find that it is removed and impounded, and that you will have to hand over 25 euros to get it back. Before World War II, journeys in the Netherlands were predominantly made by bike, but in the 1950s and 1960s, as car ownership rocketed, this changed. My local bike shop had just one on display, which the shop assistant said had been there "a few months or maybe a year". Our tour specialists are there to assist you, © All information may be subject to later changes and may contain typographical or graphical errors; your travel confirmation is binding. In the university city of Groningen, a cyclists' dream even by Dutch standards, the central train station has underground parking for 10,000 bikes. Segregated transport infrastructure in the Netherlands has a long history. Save for later; Especially in Amsterdam tourists like to make the mistake of discovering the city on a rental bike. Between the tulip fields, the friendly folk, and those charming windmills, why wouldn’t you want to go cycling around? 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