Monday, 5 January 2009

Winning the prize

Time for a new year's resolution. Let's spread a cycling culture everywhere !

It seems that all cities these days say they want to have a cycling culture. It may not be immediately obvious how to get one, but a good clue is to copy other places which have achieved it.

The Netherlands is a very good place to look. There is more cycling here than in any other country. As a result, compared with most other places, every city here is a "cycling city" with remarkable levels of cycling.

Even those cities where the level of cycling is considered to be "low" have over 20% of journeys by bicycle. Where the level of cycling is "high," up to 60% of journeys are by bicycle. The cycling culture extends well past the edges of cities and far into the countryside. Good quality links are made between towns as well as within them. Impressive as the cities are, this is a cycling nation, not just somewhere with a few cycling cities.

If you want your country to emulate the success of the Netherlands, consider coming on one of our study tours for cycling planners and campaigners in order that it is possible for them to see the variety of cycling infrastructure in this area. The environment is such that it promotes cycling due to the high degree of safety and the convenience for cyclists.

The first photo is of a three wheeled bakfiets being given away in a competition in our local supermarket. Presumably every one of these supermarkets in the country gave one away to their customers on the same week. The second photo is of a leaflet in a packet of biscuits. This company was giving away 125 cargo bikes to people lucky enough to find a "golden biscuit." Such practical bicycles are quite common competition prizes here, as they are a very attractive prize in a place where everyone cycles.


RJ said...

Thanks for a great New Year's post! I hope all us bike bloggers can think about what concrete ways we can improve cycling in our home town.

I think a mix of government and personal level involvement is a good remedy. Attending local Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee meetings is one way to tackle larger issues, while taking in new or prospective cyclists under our wings is a sure way to "spread the bicycle love" and increase our voices.

Cheers to a New Year!

Elle said...

I think that's an Albie Heijns in your picture? I don't think ours was giving away a bakfiets. It's so small they wouldn't have the space to display it anyway!

Happy New Year.