Dutch bicycle parking facilities don’t mess around. At Utrecht train station, the parking garage has capacity for a staggering 12,500 bicycles.
To put that into context, Cambridge Rail Station – the UK’s largest bike cycle parking hub – has a 3,000 bike capacity.
When we say Utrecht parking ‘garage’, what we mean is a purpose built facility that can only be compared to our vast multi-storey car parks in the UK. It’s split on three levels, designed to filter natural light across the garage, and has clear wayfinding throughout.
And how are they fitting so many bikes in one place? Well, two-tier bike racks – a double stacking system designed to maximise bicycle storage.
We’re seeing more two-tier racks in the UK, so we thought we’d ask our Dutch partner’s and cycle parking specialist Klaver why they’re so popular in the Netherlands, and how they’re working for the UK too.
Cycling in the Netherlands
Firstly, however, we need to understand why there is such high demand for cycle parking.
When most people think of cycling friendly countries, the Netherlands likely tops your list. With cities like Amsterdam synonymous with relaxed city cycling, the Dutch are the envy of urban city planners.
But Dutch life hasn’t always been that way. Car ownership in the 50s and 60s meant that pre-war bicycle trips were replaced by motor journeys. Roads became congested with cars, and tragically led to more and more accidents.
During 1971, over 3,000 people were killed, including 450 children. The campaign movement which translates as “Stop the Child Murder” was launched in response.
This pressure, coupled with the 1973 oil crisis, sparked the Dutch government to invest in change. Urban planners began building an ambitious network of segregated bike lanes, with their own traffic lights and priority roundabouts.
Fast forward to today and the bicycle is an integral part of everyday life. Small children travel in child seats or cargo bikes before they can walk, and grow up to see cycling not as optional, but integral to getting around the city.