Dark truth on how the Dutch got their cycle paths.
The Netherlands have the world’s largest cycling community.It’s also one of the safest place in the world to cycle. But how did they get this high quality cycle culture going? Many unethically assume that it’s always been there.
Like other bustling countries, cycling was marginalized in post WWII during Dutch economy boom. But with the sudden economy rise, comes increase in road-builds with heightened use of automotive vehicles. It is during this period that the Dutch paid it’s price with the loss of pedestrians and cyclists. In 1971 alone 3300 lives were lost, over 400 of which were of children under 14. This figures outraged its citizens and protests demanding a stop to this slaughter was carried out in major cities. “Stop Kindermoord” meaning Stop Murdering Children being the slogan. Consequent rise in oil pricing during economic crisis in ’73 meant that they had to change the way they do things and be less dependent on automobiles. The cycling culture in which the Dutch demanded for fitted perfectly.
Looking at the problems that the Dutch had to tackle back in 1970s makes it a good model for other developing countries who want to adopt the same solution in tackling traffic congestions.
When I was a kid, I cycled to school in Singapore and this was a rather daunting thing for any parents. And when I moved to New York City, the bicycles I own emigrated with me. It is without doubt a liberation when coming to live in the Netherlands later. The cycle facilities is incomparable to any other countries that I’ve seen. It is however a growing consciousness for many countries in Europe to weave in the cycling awareness in its bigger cities. In fact there are bicycle rental companies that is available in these countries’ capital in Europe. Do take note the next time you wanna have a zippy travel.
Chech, Paris, London, Barcelona, Netherlands ANWB.