Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Guardian: "There's more to 'going Dutch' than having a separate cycling lane"

Link to The Guardian

"It took time to sink in: the Dutch cycling facilities were so good that their use was obligatory, and enforced by the police. For a cyclist raised on the mixture of antagonism and neglect that still characterises London's cycling culture, it was a shock. And when members of the London Cycle Campaign recently voted for their 2012 mayoral election campaign to be "Go Dutch – clear space for cycling on London's main roads", it struck me that they will have to bring about an enormous shift in attitudes in a very short space of time.

"The idealisation of Dutch cycling in the British cycling press omits to mention that being a respected, mainstream means of transport incurs responsibilities as well as offering rights. Laws about lights, bells, bikes on trains, as well as compulsory paths, are rigorously policed. Taking a bike on a train requires a €6 ticket in addition to the cyclist's fare – a significant cost for regular leisure riders.

"None of this is unreasonable when the other side of the bargain is the combination of amenity and respect accorded to Dutch cyclists."

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