Front page headline news in today's "Metro" - a free national newspaper available at the train station.
"Cyclists struggle with full cycle parking". The article, continued on page three with a headline "Where did you leave your bike?" is about the continuing crisis in railway station cycle parking in the Netherlands. The newspaper reports on how due to the growth in cycling, cyclists taking their bikes to railway stations have a growing problem of finding somewhere to park. Rotterdam is building a new underground cycle park for over 5000 bikes, Amsterdam is building a new one for 7000 bikes.
The number of people arriving at the railway stations by bike rose on average by 40% in 2008 and in university cities the rise was around 50%. The railway company is predicting another rise of 30% in the next ten years.
Overall, an additional 100000 cycle parking spaces are to be built at railway stations across the country, and another 150000 existing places are to be renewed. That's enough new and renewed spaces for one in 64 of the population of the entire country. The newspaper is asking quite seriously whether this is enough. The Netherlands has just 16M people. For the USA (for instance) to achieve the same thing, they would have to build 4.6 M cycle parking spaces at railway stations.
"Going by bike to the station ? You're not the only one..."
The Netherlands has a higher cycling rate than any other country and there are cities here with higher cycling rates than any cities elsewhere. This is why so much cycle parking is needed. Dutch cyclist counts don't even include those people who are cycling to the railway station or bus stop. They're counted only as public transport users. There are other posts about integrated transport or specifically about cycle parking.
The high cycling rate is the result of policies to increase the directness and safety of cycling.
Meanwhile, there are efforts to get cycling combined with public transport higher up the agenda.