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Issues | Transport | Cycling in the Netherlands

 
 

Cycling in the Netherlands

 
 

The benefits of bicycles

The bicycle is an excellent form of transport – it helps to reduce congestion lowers pollution, increases physical fitness and does not emit carbon dioxide. Approximately six bicycles can fit into the road space used by one car. For parking, the advantage is even greater, with 20 bicycles occupying the space required to park one car.


Cycling in the Netherlands

With the possible exception of China, the Netherlands boasts more bicycles per capita than any other country - at least 16-million bikes for the 16-million Dutch. Roughly 30 percent of all urban trips in the Netherlands are on bicycles.


Starting young

The Dutch learn to ride young, usually at 4 or 5. Many primary schools give bike safety courses. Helmets are not required, but bikes must have lights, reflectors and be legally parked. In the Netherlands almost everyone rides bicycles - mothers with babies, executives with briefcases, students with backpacks, senior citizens with flower-filled bicycle baskets.


Cycling reduces traffic congestion

The Netherlands has incorporated a vision of the role of bicycles into a Bicycle Master Plan. In addition to creating bicycle lanes and trails in all its cities, the system also gives cyclists the advantage over motorists in right-of-ways and at traffic lights. Traffic signals permit cyclists to move out before cars. Both the Netherlands and Japan have made a concerted effort to integrate bicycles and rail commuter services by providing for bicycle parking at each rail station, making it easier for cyclists to commute to the station.


Cycling helps to keep you healthy

A recent University of Central Florida study entitled "28 Reasons to Bike" notes that the Dutch are healthier and less likely to die in road accidents. The Dutch obesity rate is 10 percent vs. 31 percent for Americans. The Netherlands has 6.3 highway deaths per 100,000 of population, compared with almost 15 in the United States.


 

 

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