Cycle paths don't only provide utility for cyclists. They are also useful for other groups, such as those with disabilities. In the Netherlands it is quite common here to see people riding on electric buggies, hand cycles or adult tricycles. The paths make cycling by any means a good way of getting about, and there is the social aspect that people with disabilities can join in rides with able bodied friends.
This photo was taken on the direct West-East cycle path through one suburb of Assen.
This person is riding in an electric powered buggy which transports the owner in her wheelchair. This is next to a busy road in the area of the industrial estate, but here as everywhere else, the subjective safety is good enough that everyone can cycle.
And here are some traffic education cards (I featured some of these earlier) handed out to primary school children. The first one explains that in Dutch law, wheel chair users are also cyclists so should be expected n cycle-paths. The second refers to pedestrians and explains that while a cycle path may be compulsory for cyclists, it is not forbidden to walk on it (especially in the unusual cases when there is no separate walking path).
Being truly "inclusive" and providing for all its members is one of those things which marks a mature and responsible society. In the Netherlands, cycling is truly something for all, just as it should be.
Where cycling is only for a brave or "foolish" few, it remains a minority interest.
Thinking Outside the Metal Box
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