Last updated: May 1, 2023
Let’s see how the bicycle infrastructure works in Holland — a country with a long cycling history, where the number of bicycles is greater than the number of inhabitants.
The idea of observing the rules of the road is instilled in the Netherlands at school: from the age of five, compulsory lessons are devoted to this, and at the age of 10-12, children take a serious road traffic test on a bicycle, consisting of theoretical and practical parts. Therefore, the vast majority of secondary school students and older people ride bikes freely and independently.
It is in the Netherlands that impressive infrastructure facilities are located: the world’s first roundabout with a suspended Hovenring bike path near Eindhoven, the world’s largest bicycle parking for 12,500 bicycles in Utrecht and an 800—meter-long bicycle bridge – the longest in Europe near Groningen.
All outdoor outdoor bike parking is free. The conditions for storing a bicycle in closed parking lots with a security guard depend on the municipality. In Amsterdam, for example, the first 24 hours are free, and then – 1.25 euros for every 24 hours.
As one of the ways to encourage the use of bicycles, the employer can reimburse employees who come to work on them 19 cents for each kilometer of the way — at the same rate as motorists.
Bike paths are everywhere in Holland, and this is not a literary exaggeration. From almost anywhere in the country, you can get to any other without getting off your bike. The paths are highlighted in a different color, so it is difficult to confuse them, and of course it is not recommended to walk along them as a pedestrian. And it won’t work, bike traffic is often quite lively.
By the way, even special models of GPS receivers are sold (for example, Garmin Edge) with stitched bike paths that run along them.
In most cases, the bike paths themselves are separated not only from the sidewalk, but also from the roadway, and in general they are very safe — there are clear markings, signs, separate traffic lights, each bike path is often duplicated on both sides of the road, so it is physically impossible to go to the oncoming lane. Therefore, most Dutch people do not wear helmets, and bicycle accidents are practically an exception — of course you can fall off a bike, but it is difficult to seriously suffer.
By the way, why are there more bicycles in Holland than residents — the answer is simple. Many people use 2 bikes, on one they go from home to the subway, and leave it near the station, on the second they go from the terminal station to work. And some may have an old rusty bike, which is not a pity to leave on the street, and another good one at home, for sports or longer weekend trips. By the way, with an average tram or bus price of 2 euros per trip, an old used bike for 100-200 euros will pay off for the season, even if it is simply thrown away later (although the Dutch seem to throw away almost never).
Of course, in order for people to use bicycles, it is necessary that it be convenient. Every station or stop has bike parking, or even underground parking for thousands of bicycles. Moreover, often all this is free.
Of course, almost every office center has not only bicycle parking, but also a shower for employees. You can say that in your country it is impossible to find good bicycle, but we recommend you to pay attention to online bicycle shops.
But all the same, there are not enough parking lots for everyone, and most of them have to go to them, so the bike is simply left on the street and fastened to anything. In principle, any tree or pole is also good bike parking (if there is no rain, but even this does not bother the owners — in this case, a package is simply put on the saddle).
Another important point is that you can get on the subway or train with a bicycle (outside rush hour, and the number is limited to a few pieces per car). The cars where you can enter with a bike are marked with a special sign.
As you can see, if both people and the government want, a lot can be done. Of course, the climate also affects here (the average winter temperature in Holland is +3-5, and snow happens 1 week a year). Switching to bicycles at least for 5-6 months a year – is also an investment in ecology, in the fight against global warming, and so on. You can be indifferent to bicycles, but it is impossible not to admit that every person who has moved to a bicycle is a reduction in CO2 emissions and cleaner air for others.
This is a collaborative post. A full disclosure is available from the main menu.
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