When it comes to cycling, the Dutch are miles ahead of the rest of us. The average Dutch person cycles around 1,000 km annually, and in 2017, there were 22.5 million bicycles in the Netherlands – more than the 17.1 million people who live there. So, what tips of inspiration can we take from the Dutch when it comes to cycling?
Less road traffic accidents
It makes sense that the more cyclists there are on the roads, the fewer people there will be using their cars as an everyday mode of transport. The Dutch encourage people to cycle rather than drive in city centres, which is spearheaded partly by the number of road fatalities climbing to a shocking 3,300 in the early 1970s. Promoting more cycle-friendly cities could have a positive impact on the number of road traffic collisions there are in the UK, and help to normalise cycling as a means of transport.
Developing a healthier, easier commute
Whether it’s commuting to work, university or even the school drop-off, cycling is a brilliant way that the Dutch have been able to create a healthier, easier commute. More than a quarter of people living in the Netherlands cycle to work. Unfortunately, this is far from the case in British cities. In Manchester, for example, two thirds of people currently use their car as their primary mode of transport. This over-reliance on the petrol- and diesel-guzzling vehicles we have all come to know is harmful. Not only is it dangerous to our health, and our children’s health, but the danger spreads to the environment as a whole.
The abundance of bicycle parking facilities
Of course, if we want the uptake of cyclists to increase in the UK dramatically, adequate bicycle parking facilities would have to be provided to accommodate the influx. These facilities are yet another thing that the Dutch do well. The space under Utrecht’s train station can hold up to 12,500 bikes – the largest in the world of its kind. By offering these sorts of premium facilities in the UK, more people would be likely to take up cycling as a means of transport to and from public places, such as train stations. Taking up cycling on a mass scale will have a beneficial impact on almost all aspects of life – from the economy to the environment, public health to mental wellbeing.