There's a lot of emphasis on riding "vehicularly", on gaining speed to get past junctions, on training people to avoid common problems. These are fine survival techniques in an environment which is hostile to cyclists, but they are not a way to make cycling a normal means of transport for the masses. Those with a desire to cycle, who are fearless enough and strong enough will continue to do so, while those who are more easily scared away from cycling will never start in such conditions. Cycling needs to be something other than an extreme sport to make the majority of people see it as something for themselves.
On the way home recently I found myself behind a rather elderly gentleman who was making his way slowly through a village near here by bike:
Explanatory video captions are displayed only if the video is played on a computer and not when played on a mobile device
You'll also see how children had met friends on the same cycle path. The infrastructure makes this possible. No-one has to be a "road warrior" to cycle. Parents don't worry about the safety of their children. Older people also see cycling as a perfectly reasonable way to get around.
Compare and contrast with this video made by someone who says "you can ride your kids to school" in Bristol:
It's laudable that this parent has taken great care in teaching his son to ride so safely as possible given the conditions. In the UK it's quite exceptional for an eight year old to cycle to school, even with a parent "just behind and out a bit to offer some protection and direction if needed" precisely because of the conditions in which this cycling would have to take place. Most parents simply don't feel that this is a safe thing to subject their children to. Meanwhile, just over the North Sea here in the Netherlands the average age for a child to go to school unaccompanied is about 8 and a half.
So what explains the difference ? The infrastructure ! Britain's streets are not subjectively safe. This is why attempts to train people to cycle are not working. It's also why in that second video you don't see other children cycling to school, older people cycling, nor indeed many other people riding bikes at all. It doesn't look much like any video of a Dutch school run by bicycle.
You are a member of a self selected group
Campaigners often ignore the reasons why they are cyclists while the majority of the population are not. It's very simple, those who cycle now in low cycling countries are by definition members of the easy demographic for cycling, made up largely of enthusiasts and relatively fit young adults, while those who do not cycle are from different demographic groups who are not naturally given to cycling especially if it involves risk.
Cyclists in most countries are an out-group. To change this, it's no good to say that conditions are OK for you. You need to reach the people who are not part of your group and you need to tackle the reasons why other people do not cycle.
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demonstrate how the Netherlands made
made attractive to the whole population
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