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  1. #1
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    We need to be more like the Dutch

    Having watched a few videos on the dutch, I am amazed at how well their cities are set up for cycling. More bikes than people its so amazing, they have the right idea to fight dependance on fossil fuels, getting exercise, and getting from A to B with in a city.

    If only there were more bike only lanes in city centers and main road ways we could lessen our traffic jams. Shared lanes aren't enough people need to feel safe.

  2. #2
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    I agree with this. I am just happy to have some bike lanes now to ride within the city. I would love to have their cycling ecosystem.
    '13 FELT TK3 / '09 Jamis Sonik
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  3. #3
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    Hybrids, EV's, Hydrogen, other fuels they may relieve the dependance on fossils fuels, but do nothing for congestion. Making cycling more accessible and safer solves congestion and fossil fuel consumption. We need to make gradual changes, and we need to start now.

    Cars are getting bigger and heavier and so are we.

  4. #4
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    That heavy comment is so true. The majority of people at work are morbidly obese. They no longer walk, they waddle and it is pretty sad to see.
    '13 FELT TK3 / '09 Jamis Sonik
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.
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  5. #5
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    The comments above are all very true. We could also be more like the Dutch in terms of multilingualism as a point of pride and a part of business. It seems the biggest hurdle in North America is one of mindset and public opinion.

    When auto emissions regulations came into being in the US, American auto manufacturers hired lawyers to find loopholes in the laws while Japanese manufacturers hired engineers to build cars which met the standards.

    In seeking bicycle friendly cities, we are asking for a massive shift in behaviors and attitudes- which run contrary to decades of slick marketing from auto manufacturers and associated industries. Maybe we need a clever marketing campaign equating bicycles to freedom and reduced congestion as a starting point. Kona's videos might be working in the right direction, but are only reaching folks looking for a new bike.

  6. #6
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    Well, lawyers buy time, engineers buy progress. Both cost money and time. Getting in a car and pressing the gas is easy. Getting out the bike for a loaf of bread at the local convenience takes a bit of effort. It took the Dutch decades with the right mindset to set up their cities to be so bike friendly.

    We humans are highly adaptable, if we want to be. All it takes is for a Municipality to take a lane out here and their and turn it into a bike lane. Sure it might make a mass of motorists angry, but people will adapt. Heck some might even become cyclists. That is the way a change starts.

    Sure if we all cycled like the Dutch automotive type jobs will vanish, but a new batch of cyclist related industry will be created. Think of all the heart related and obesity related deaths we could prevent. These are the thoughts from a guy who thought the automobile was be all end all. The automobile has its purpose but we overuse it.

  7. #7
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    ^ Well put sir.

  8. #8
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    @snailspace:
    Did you just suddenly get Dutch fever from reading one of my posts by chance? If so I am glad I am making headway in the flat earth society of North American cyclists!

  9. #9
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    I think I have seen the yearning for something approaching this expressed in many threads over the years I have been here. Near collisions have a way of doing that. Great minds (and otherwise) often think in the same vein.

    Flat helps the Dutch a lot. Here is a nice bit of bike route:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qexhElAiqHo

  10. #10
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    American flat-earth society cyclist, stop making excuses. How come flat areas in the USA don't have Dutch modal shares? The Dutch starting in the 1970s in responses to children being maimed and killed on their streets demanded change. So they started building the world class cycling and pedestrian infastructure they have now. Now most residental streets are thru-traffic only for cars and with fairly low speed limits. Further many of these streets are one-way only for cars, but bicycles don't have the same restriction. They made cycling safe and in many ways more efficient and convenient than driving. So today 1/3rd or all trips in their country are taken by bicycle.

    Now please stop making stupid excuses and spreading disinfo and anti-cycling propaganda. If the USA had Dutch style infrastructure and laws, cycling would skyrocket from the very young to the very old.

  11. #11
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    Clearly, we all agree here that safer cycling is a benefit to all, and that flatter cycling is easier.

    The Dutch have been credited with the creation of an extensive middle class, private art holding, international trade facilitated by finance networks, and the camera obscura. This last invention allowed painters to see the world as it is, with a narrow focus, and produce an accurate representation, or modify one to suit their needs as artists.

    Roy- It looks like most of us here want better bike infrastructure, safer bike infrastructure, and fewer obstacles to new cycle- commuters. Nowhere in this thread (so far) will you find disinformation or anti- cycling propaganda. We are all cyclists here, some more committed than others to being "car- free." The "if you build it, they will come" model has been tested in major league Soccer and Women's NBA, both of which deserve greater attendance records than they receive. North America has become highly car dependent, as you state ad nauseum, with a few us trying to take steps toward other solutions. Cycling, mass transit, and multi- modal transit (taking your bike on a train or bus) will not become normal until we have convinced lawmakers and voters that such a transition will resolve problems. Heckling advocates of cycling, as "flat- Earthers" is at best counterproductive. I respect, and respectfully disagree with, your Malthusian views.

    Back to the issue at hand, most State and local legislators have established general guidelines for deciding which issues are important to their constituency. In Delaware, in the early 1990's, three phone calls or letters on any given position constituted public concern. Five letters, with the same position but from different voters, was considered extraordinary support for a particular view. Seat belt, drunk driving, and motorcycle helmet laws were all influenced by this system. The laws alone did not make citizens want to wear seat belts etc. Mothers Against Drunk Driving have, however, been very effective in stigmatizing drunk driving. If we want to see these changes in bicycle infrastructure, we need to call on our fellow cyclists to call our lawmakers, if we want to see changes in motorist behavior, we need something more evocative than cyclists yelling at each other.

  12. #12
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    Is my smoke detector going off? Why you ask? Because someone just got burned. To. A. Crisp.
    '13 FELT TK3 / '09 Jamis Sonik
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.
    2014 miles - 3002/2500

  13. #13
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    I am not saying we have to be exactly like the Dutch. I was inspired by a few Ted Talks videos. In bigger cities we can't just add more lanes in a city centre or expressway, and only so many can fit on a but or subway. With the population growing we have to look at other ways of getting us from A to B. If some of you have read my posts I have gone car free this summer. We as a society need to look at other ways of getting around town, especially if our commute distances are short. We need to make cycling feel safe first and foremost so more people will do it.

    Being a fairly new cyclist I find it relaxing most of the time unless I'm fighting a gale force head wind

  14. #14
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    Umm, did someone say coffee house and Belgian beer?

  15. #15
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    It's not just the Dutch. Look at Denmark: Copenhagen has shown that a transformation away from a purely car based city is possible. And it's really cold in winter there! In Europe Copenhagen is always named as the prime example for this transformation.

  16. #16
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Dutchman present! Feel free to ask me anything


    Quote Originally Posted by quax View Post
    It's not just the Dutch. Look at Denmark: Copenhagen has shown that a transformation away from a purely car based city is possible. And it's really cold in winter there!
    Copenhagen is not THAT cold
    And Danmark and The Netherlands are quite similar countries: flat landscape and egalitarian society (Danmark even more than us), both of which may contribute to lots of (widely accepted) bike use.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    Flat helps the Dutch a lot. Here is a nice bit of bike route:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qexhElAiqHo
    That's not a bike lane, just a nice road share by cars and bikes.
    The velomobiles you see on that vid are pretty rare. I regularly see about 5 of them (I know one guy who owns one) in this area, vs thousands of normal bikes. They're sort of a geeky thing, mostly used for somewhat longer bike commutes (over 10km up to 40km).
    We're seeing more and more electric pedal assisted bikes for commuting...

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Umm, did someone say coffee house and Belgian beer?
    Belgium is somewhat different than The Netherlands. They have a great cycling (competitive cycling and cyclocross) culture, but in some parts and cities (like Bruxelles) in Belgium the cycling infrastructure isn't as good as it is in The Netherlands.

    As a bonus some pics of our bike lanes











    And THIS is what cycling in Utrecht (city) looks like.

    And THIS is an example of what a typical bike commute could look like: from Houten via Bunnik (villages near the city of Utrecht) to Utrecht Uithof (Science Park with universities, hospitals, R&D, student housing) to De Bilt and Bilthoven (villages near Utrecht)

    This one is pretty funny as well. (pretty tame though, as mentioned in the comments)
    Ride more!

  17. #17
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    Those bike lanes are in better condition than 90% of the streets here. Super jealous of that first one, because that is something that I would enjoy riding.
    '13 FELT TK3 / '09 Jamis Sonik
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.
    2014 miles - 3002/2500

  18. #18
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    Dutch does not work in North America. I wish people would start to understand that. Go and do some research into city population density. Some of our cities cover an area bigger than some countries.

    The Netherlands for example have the largest populations crammed in to the smallest areas.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saddle Up View Post
    Dutch does not work in North America. I wish people would start to understand that. Go and do some research into city population density. Some of our cities cover an area bigger than some countries.

    The Netherlands for example have the largest populations crammed in to the smallest areas.
    And how do you think it got that way? It is because of the over-dependence on automobiles. If people in the US started taking choppers to work, cities would be as big as the states they are on.
    '11 Epic Comp, Shimano SPD M780, Giant Contact Switch-R, Specialized Ribcage, Bontrager Trip 200

  20. #20
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    A chopper to work? OK, that would be pretty cool I am not gonna lie.
    '13 FELT TK3 / '09 Jamis Sonik
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.
    2014 miles - 3002/2500

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenSpeed View Post
    A chopper to work? OK, that would be pretty cool I am not gonna lie.
    ...until you realize you are spending for 5 miles per gallon.
    '11 Epic Comp, Shimano SPD M780, Giant Contact Switch-R, Specialized Ribcage, Bontrager Trip 200

  22. #22
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    No one said anything about factoring in fuel costs here.
    '13 FELT TK3 / '09 Jamis Sonik
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.
    2014 miles - 3002/2500

  23. #23
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    Asphaltdude, I am curious as to the monthly costs of car ownership in the Netherlands. Also curious to know how well the cycling lanes etc continue out of larger cities, we always see Amsterdam and maybe Rotterdam in the videos. Your photos of Utrecht look great, can you safely get between cities on a bike?

    I am also curious why the link between bicycles and brewing is so different between countries. Heineken and Carslberg are linked to the best cycling cities in Europe, while Portland Oregon has some great beers by US standards, is it just tradition?

    My next to last question has little to do with bikes. I come from "New Netherlands/ New Sweden" (depends who you ask, the historian's answer is both) and moved to West Michigan, which was heavily settled by members of the "Dutch Reformed Church." In my experience the East Coast "Dutch," have built houses and barns with the roof oriented to prevent rain/ sleet/ snow from covering the owner as he/ she enters the house. The West Michigan "Dutch," who came later, seem to prefer rooflines which expose any entry to precipitation aimed directly at the spinal column. What is the most common design in the Netherlands? You did say we could ask you anything.

    Finally, how did the bicycle friendly urban planning of Amsterdam and other cities come about? Where bicycles the majority when the planning laws came into effect? If not, how did (did?) the motorist community come to respect the cyclist community? Stated other wise, what can we do here?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rustedthrough View Post
    Asphaltdude, I am curious as to the monthly costs of car ownership in the Netherlands.
    A LOT higher than in the US.
    Cars are expensive. When you buy a new car, you pax taxes, depending on the CO2 emission.
    Fuel is quite expensive. We pay about 1,70 for 1 liter, which is $ 8,20 per gallon.
    The average european car does more miles to the gallon than an American car though.
    And if you live in a city center, you have to pay for a parking permit.


    Also curious to know how well the cycling lanes etc continue out of larger cities, we always see Amsterdam and maybe Rotterdam in the videos. Your photos of Utrecht look great, can you safely get between cities on a bike?
    No problem what so ever. Even in the countryside most roads have a separate bike path, or a bike lane painted on the road.


    I am also curious why the link between bicycles and brewing is so different between countries. Heineken and Carslberg are linked to the best cycling cities in Europe, while Portland Oregon has some great beers by US standards, is it just tradition?
    Don't know really.
    Since cycling became 'hip' a few years ago it's been associated with small local breweries (and with coffee bars etc bla bla)
    Belgium has had both a (competitive) cycling culture and a great beer culture for decades (way better than the Dutch beer culture).
    We don't consider Heineken anything special by the way. They do excel at marketing, but the beer itself is just average.

    What is the most common design in the Netherlands?
    Don't really know a lot about architecture. I do know different regions have somewhat different building styles for farms.
    Boerderij - Wikipedia



    Finally, how did the bicycle friendly urban planning of Amsterdam and other cities come about? Where bicycles the majority when the planning laws came into effect? If not, how did (did?) the motorist community come to respect the cyclist community?
    Note that the city centers of our major cities are quite old.
    The Amsterdam Canal District for example was built before 1700 AD.
    So they have narrow streets.

    Before WW2, cyclists simply outnumbered cars, but when car ownership finally took off in the 60's, the old city centers became congested pretty quickly and roads became dangerous for cyclists.

    In the 70's the oil crisis and hippie culture led to a reappreciation of cycling, bike advocacy and the creation of a bike infrastructure.

    Because of the population growth (baby boom) after WW2, many new suburbs were built in the 70's and 80's, and they were designed around bikes from scratch, probably due to the bike advocacy work done in our major cities.

    Here's a very informative vid about our cycling infrastructure


    Stated other wise, what can we do here?
    Build bike paths to make cycling safer.

    Promote cycling as a means of daily transport. Not something you have to dress up for in lycra clothes, not something you must be extremely fit or skilled to do, just something normal.
    You probably know this photo series. Note that no one wears a helmet or special clothes or shoes, simply because we don't see cycling as a dangerous activity or even a sports activity.

    Maybe start with the children: build bike paths around schools so they can ride to school safely and get accustomed to using a bike for daily transport?
    Ride more!

  25. #25
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    Asphaltdude, thanks for all the thought and the great propaganda video link. Sorry about the architecture tangent.

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