Help from Holland!
Dutch embassy offers advice to UK transport planners... but will they take it?
Posted by Peter Eland on Tuesday 7 Feb 2012
Hot on the heels of The Times newspaper coming out for cycling safety, this just in from the Netherlands embassy in the form of a press release... it bears re-posting here I think! Not that a wholesale transplant of the Dutch solution is necessarily possible or even desireable for the UK, but it would be foolish not to learn from what they have achieved...
Press release follows:
Dutch offer to share cycle safety know-how and resources with UK
Netherlands Embassy offers Dutch cycling infrastructure expertise to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling, the London Cycling Campaign, and the Times Cycle Safety campaign
The Netherlands Embassy in the UK today volunteered to share the wealth of Dutch experience of cycle safety and urban infrastructure with a number of high-profile cycling campaigns in the United Kingdom. By using the resources of the Dutch ministries of Infrastructure and the Environment (I&M), and Economic Affairs (EL&I) and the public private partnership of the Dutch Cycling Embassy, the Embassy offered to put experts from specialist Dutch organisations that offer urban infrastructure solutions geared towards cycle safety in contact with the various UK campaigns in order to provide solid expertise and tailored visitor programmes for British policy-makers and urban planning experts. The Dutch are keen to help the UK develop the same methods and infrastructure that have made the Netherlands one of the safest countries in the world to be a cyclist.
The Dutch Embassy is delighted by the surge of interest in cycle safety generated by the Times Cycle Safety campaign (launched on 2 February) and already supports London Cycling Campaign’s upcoming “Go Dutch” campaign (#godutch), which will be launched on Thursday 9 February at the Design Museum. The Embassy is planning in 2012 to continue a cycle programme in the UK, “Think Bike”, which has already been run successfully by several other Dutch Embassies around the world.
Notes to editors
The Dutch are passionate about cycling and very happy to share this knowledge with the UK. We continuously search for ways to improve cycling conditions, cycling safety, and of course, the humble bicycle (“fiets” in Dutch) itself. We have succeeded in integrating cycling within urban and transport planning and the bicycle has become one of our most important modes of transport. It is vital to join forces in order to make cycling a success. Dutch municipalities and local politicians need solutions to the problem of mass car use in their cities. Agencies support them in developing strategies, mobility plans and designs and the bicycle industry and producers of street furniture and parking provisions invest hugely in innovative products and creative designs. And cyclists also make themselves heard: special organisations have been campaigning for better cycling conditions since the seventies.
The Netherlands currently has over 29,000 kilometres of segregated cycle tracks. This is 12,000 more than in 1996. Clearly, the Dutch continuously invest in cycling, all of which has had a noticeable impact on the urban landscape. It is important to create calm roads so that cyclists and cars can share the roads safely. Along major roads, however, dedicated cycling infrastructure such as bike lanes and segregated cycle tracks are required. Millions of euros are thus invested in making intersections safe for cyclists or creating dedicated tunnels and bridges. Amsterdam, for instance, spent 20 million euros (£16.6 million) a year on cycling projects between 2007 and 2010. The economic benefits far outweigh the costs.
A history of cycling innovation in the Netherlands
With 26% of all traffic movements done by bike (by far the highest proportion in Europe), the Dutch are the bicycle champions of the world. Our country has a bicycle-friendly infrastructure that promotes a healthier, more active lifestyle. Without wishing to boast, we can genuinely say that our country is a veritable trendsetter when it comes to sustainable transport. The Netherlands is a wealthy country in which 1 in 2 people owns a car. Bicycle use, however, is higher than anywhere else in the world.
So how did we do it?
Cycling has always been popular in the Netherlands. Since the 1960s, however, car-ownership and car-usage have increased significantly and bicycle usage has fallen, reaching an all-time low in 1978. Cities began to struggle with congestion, air pollution, a poorer quality of life and many traffic accidents. As a result, the government decided to develop a large array of measures to promote cycling, walking and traffic calming, such as:
- Reducing car access to city-centres and create car-free areas;
- Making parking in city-centres more expensive;
- Constructing cycle paths and reducing road space for cars;
- Facilitating cycling through cycle network planning, road design, signalling, parking and enforcement;
- Reducing maximum speed on the majority of urban roads to 30 km/h or less;
- Promoting cycling to encourage the use of bikes and discourage car-use.
Bicycle use in cities increased. In 1975, 25% of all non-walking journeys in Amsterdam involved a bicycle. By 1995, this had increased to 35%. We also managed to improve the safety of cycling and traffic fatalities fell from 3,200 in 1972 to 700 in 2010.
- You travel 10% faster in cities by bike than by car
- The quality of life in cities improves
- Traffic congestion reduces
- Local, city economies improve
Still we continue to develop innovative solutions that come forward to the needs and aspirations of people and contribute to our asociety. We create up to more than 20,000 bicycle parking places at several train stations, we develop cycling highways between our cities, we sell 1.2 milllion bikes per year at on average €750 per bike, we have the most successful public bike scheme in the world and prove that cycling inclusive planning is a key element towards road safety. Our manufacturers, consultants, engineers, planners, designers, lobbyists, researchers, governors stand in a tradition of decades of international exchange and cooperation on cycling as professionals on all continents, from Chile to Lithuania, India to Uganda, the United States to Brasil, Ireland to Turkey, the UK to Japan, can confirm.
Incidentally there's a really good response to the Times campaign and the subsequent coverage here:
Now linked from CCE too:
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