My blog exists primarily in order to try to explain the differences between the way that things are done in this country vs. the way they are done in the UK and USA. Sometimes it can be difficult to get the message across as it is easy for people who haven't been here to imagine that everything is simply a little different. It just isn't like that. The little differences add up to more than the sum of their parts. The overall effect is fundamentally different.
This video, made by mariojragucci2 re-captures my original thoughts on visiting the Netherlands. Truly a different way of living. Something that isn't easy even to imagine without being a part of it.
While our initial shock was amazing enough, we kept on noticing more things, especially small things or societal differences for a long time afterwards. Having now lived in the country for a couple of years, many things now look ordinary to me, but it's great to have such a reminder as Mario's videos.
The last minute and a half of the video are actually on streets with no restrictions on driving at all. However, you'll still see "no cars" (well, almost). On roads like this, still in the city, there are few places to usefully drive to and park along these roads, so rat-running through them doesn't tend to happen. Cycling is much more convenient. You can go anywhere by bike.
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The less positive stuff What not to do if you want a cycling "revolution" - Long list of interventions and policies which are not helpful. Copy the best examples from the Netherlands - a short list summarising the above. Important to copy the best examples, not just anything "Dutch". Bear in mind that the Netherlands is not perfect. Shared Space - this much hyped idea simply does not work well. It disenfranchises the vulnerable and claims of safety are exaggerated. Don't confuse the concept with far more successful nearly car free streets. Shared Use Paths designed to be used by pedestrians and cyclists together. These rarely work well because the two user groups are too different and it leads to conflicts. They are not built in the Netherlands (but cycle access to pedestrianized zones is good). Strict (or presumed) liability - If you think this is an important part of why people cycle in the Netherlands then it is probably not what you think it is. Helmets - one of several ways of scaremongering about the supposed dangers of what is actually a very safe means of transport
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Experience for yourself how policy and infrastructure in Assen and Groningen have led to the high cycling modal share in this area:
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A cyclist in a cycling family living in the capital of the cycling province of the world's greatest cycling country.
I was born in the UK, lived for over 8 years in New Zealand and have lived in the Netherlands since 2007.
I organise cycling infrastructure study tours, run an online bicycle shop, arrange cycling holidays and write a popular blog about cycling.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org