Thursday, May 14

How Amsterdam became the bicycle capital of the world

ee the power of civil society son? This is what the power of individuals and groups can do. I love cycling and hope you are also enjoying yourself in oxford on the bike.

We will need to do more cycling. This car and oil based economy and human  civilisation cannot last. It will require improvements. And it's getting much much better now. More to be done son. Hoping to go riding this weekend :) go make peace while the legs are pumping and the wind is in my hair and face. Extraordinary feeling of peace and quiet.



How Amsterdam became the bicycle capital of the world
(via Instapaper)

Anyone who has ever tried to make their way through the centre of Amsterdamin a car knows it: the city is owned by cyclists. They hurry in swarms through the streets, unbothered by traffic rules, taking precedence whenever they want, rendering motorists powerless by their sheer numbers.

Cyclists rule in Amsterdam and great pains have been taken to accommodate them: the city is equipped with an elaborate network of cycle-paths and lanes, so safe and comfortable that even toddlers and elderly people use bikes as the easiest mode of transport. It’s not only Amsterdam which boasts a network of cycle-paths, of course; you’ll find them in all Dutch cities.

The Dutch take this for granted; they even tend to believe these cycle-paths have existed since the beginning of time. But that is certainly not the case. There was a time, in the 1950s and 60s, when cyclists were under severe threat of being expelled from Dutch cities by the growing number of cars. Only thanks to fierce activism and a number of decisive events would Amsterdam succeed in becoming what it is, unquestionably, now: the bicycle capital of the world.

At the start of the 20th century, bikes far outnumbered cars in Dutch cities and the bicycle was considered a respectable mode of transport for men and women. But when the Dutch economy began to boom in the post-war era, more and more people were able to afford cars, and urban policymakers came to view the car as the travel mode of the future. Entire Amsterdam neighbourhoods were destroyed to make way for motorised traffic. The use of bikes decreased by 6% every year, and the general idea was that bicycles would eventually disappear altogether.

The streets no longer belonged to the people who lived there, but to huge traffic flows

Maartje van Putten, former MEP

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