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The Netherlands is a country of cyclists. For us, it’s just business as usual, but we’re a unique country, with over 22.5 million bicycles, and only 16.9 inhabitants (CBS 2015), there is nowhere where cycling is as normal as over here.
The obesity rate is rising, and traffic is getting more and more congested. ‘Bikes will prove to be the solution in cities’ is what Canadians Chris and Melissa Bruntlett argue in their recently published book Building the Cycling City – The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality.
‘A bicycle can make a major difference in Africa’ says Marieke de Wild from CooP-Africa, the foundation that organizes bicycle projects in Uganda and Kenya. ‘In the villages, children regularly have to walk 10 kilometres to school. With a bicycle they would be much faster, saving time for homework and helping their parents.’
For a serious climate policy, cyclists (and pedestrians) should make up more than 50 percent of traffic in a city, says Jaap Rijnsburger of Cycling Lab.
A bicycle culture doesn’t just manifest itself out of thin air,’ professor Ruth Oldenziel knows. ‘as a policy maker you need to think long term. To start with, you need a real understanding of how your city works.’
This post is also available in: Dutch