40% of passengers on Dutch trains arrived at the railway station by bike. This makes it impractical to allow people to all take their bikes on the trains, especially at rush hour. In this way, cycling is a victim of its own success. One of the solutions to the problem is the OV-Fiets.
The Dutch shared bike scheme, OV-Fiets, is a bit unlike most bike share schemes in that it operates with public transport. OV stands for "Openbaar Vervoer" which is Dutch for "Public Transport."
These bikes are available at 200 locations around the country, including almost all railway stations. The idea is that they are used by commuters. An annual subscription costs just €9.50 per year, and then it costs €2.85 to hire a bike for a day. This can be a maximum of 20 hours - the idea being that it is not for tourists - though virtually every railway station also has normal hire bikes available.
OV-Fiets bikes are always either under the roof of the railway station bike shop or in the possession of someone who has hired the bike. I suspect this keeps the vandalism rate well down in comparison with some other bike share schemes. However, they are also available from lockers or even "bike dispenser" vending machines at some locations.
Anyway, the video shows the 400 OV-Fiets bikes which are currently in Vancouver in Canada for the use of Dutch athletes during the winter Olympics. It's a bit odd in that people are wearing fluorescent jackets, and even helmets... but the prime minister doesn't bother even though they're compulsory.
On to the Olympics. The photo shows Sven Kremer signing a golden OV-Fiets after winning the gold medal for the 5000 m ice skating race yesterday. He set a new Olympic record time of 6:14.60.
And talking of ice-skating... It's still pretty cold here. People have been skating on the canals, and velomobiling on lakes too...
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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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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.
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