Did you know you are around 20 times more likely to get injured while riding a bike in the US than in Holland? In the Netherlands, almost a quarter of the population cycles every day, with most residents here owning a bike and most kids cycling to school each morning. In this article we’ll show you how Amsterdam came to be the bicycle paradise it is today.
If you’ve recently moved to the Netherlands, you might be considering buying a bike. And you should! Riding a bike is one of the easiest ways to not only reduce the risk of damaging your own bod, but also the environment. It’s fun, healthy and not to mention cheap, which is why it’s so great that cycling is given such importance in this country.
Was it always this way?
Not at all. After World War Two, cars were all the rage. The Dutchies (like many others) were scrambling to get their paws on shiny modern motors that they could brag about to their neighbours. It is sad now to think how many bikes were left to rust away in garden sheds just so traffic could jam up the city’s lovely narrow lanes. They even proposed filling in the canals with concrete!?
In this video, learn all about how the concept of ‘Living Streets’ (or Woonerf), was realised in the Netherlands in order to restrict traffic casualties: “Making Amsterdam more bike-friendly was really about making the city less friendly for cars.”
As someone who came here from England, I can certainly say that I have never felt safer on a bike. We often joke about cyclists having the highest status on the roads here, but it’s true. The video makes a good point; it’s not just safety in numbers, it’s power!
If you also love how accommodating the Netherlands is for bikes – if you, like me, know that it’s way better than cycling in your home country – then check out our video on 7 Ways the Dutch are Cycling right into the Future:
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