The Netherlands: a cycling nation of
17 million people, who own 22.5 million bikes together. An average of 1.3 bicycles per person, which is more than any
other country on the planet. A Dutch person makes about
250 to 300 bicycle rides per year and together they ride
almost 15 billion kilometers. Even though many more kilometers
are driven by car… in the morning rush-hour
bicycles outnumber cars in the streets of
the Netherlands. 84% of the Dutch own
one or more bicycles. And 27% of the under 50-year-olds
use their bicycle every day. The same goes for 17%
of the over 65-year-olds. The average number of cycling has been
stable for about 30 years: about 27% of all trips in the country
are made by bicycle. But that average is a total of figures
that did change. Cycling has increased a lot in the cities. – with 12% since 2005 – and decreased in the countryside. Not only because more people
live in cities now, but also because the
Dutch cycle more often… and they cycle longer
distances. The average Dutch person
now cycles 1,000 kilometers per year. No other nation in the world
cycles this much, but Dutch schoolchildren cycle even
twice as much, because three-quarters of
the 12 to 16 year olds cycle to school
on a daily basis. Another group that cycles much more are
the over 65-year-olds. Partly because their number increased and partly because they
discovered the e-bike. but mostly because they simply
cycle longer distances… especially for recreation. The acceptable distance to cycle was long
thought to be about 7.5 kilometers. – with 90% of all trips being shorter – but with the e-bike that distance has
increased to 15 kilometers. The average cycle speed in the Netherlands
is relatively low. About 12.4 km/h. The e-bike is only a fraction faster
with 13 km/h. The Dutch can cycle on well
over 55,000 kilometers of roadway… that is fit to cycle on. Already 70% of the urban streets
are 30 km/h zones. On top of that there is a network of over 33,000 km
of dedicated cycling infrastructure. Ranging from completely
solitary cycle routes… – not attached to
any motor traffic network – to cycleways next to busy roads. One-way on either
side… or bi-directional. Education seems to be a way
to achieve more cycling. Of the higher educated people in Amsterdam
only 28% choose the car. People who are less well-educated take
the car for more than 50% of their journeys. Where higher educated people see the bicycle
as a status symbol, with which they can show how close they live
to their work for instance, the lower classes look down on the bicycle
even in the Netherlands. Still, more trips are made by
bicycle than by car in Amsterdam. 72,000 cycle trips in
morning rush hour alone. Almost twice as many as the number of cars
on the street at the same time. Utrecht is equally busy. That city of 345,000 people welcomes
125,000 people on bicycles every day. The busiest street is used
by 33,000 people every day. It makes this cycle way
the busiest in the country. To give all these people a parking space, Utrecht
is creating 33,000 bicycle parking spaces around its central station.
Of which 12,500 in one facility. The largest in the world. Of all the visitors to the Utrecht city centre
59% arrives by bicycle. Even with all that cycling
the Dutch government feels there is more than enough
room for growth. For instance because more than half of the car trips
in the Netherlands are below 7.5 kilometers. For a scheme to further promote cycling, the national government joined
forces with local authorities… and other parties such as knowledge organisations
and entrepreneurs. The ambitious goal: to increase cycling with 20%
in the next ten years. This may pose some challenges
at the already busy places, But the Dutch love for experiments,
also when it comes to road design, will almost certainly make this increase
possible in a safe way.