Bicycle cultue of the Netherlands - Rotterdam, the Netherlands - Photo by Luca Assen
Dutch people love bicycling. And to such extent; that in this modern era, the major mode of transportation in Netherlands is bicycle. In the larger cities and in most of the urban areas, the people of Holland move on bicycles. According to BBC; there are more bicycles than residents in the Netherlands. There are several factors behind this phenomenon in the country. It was the decade of 1970’s. The numbers of motor-vehicles in the country were enormously increasing. Due to traffic calamities, the number of deaths was also rising. Right then, wisdom was developed and there was the happening of a big social movement in the Netherlands.
Many reforms were made and legislation was done to make the people safer, especially the children from the causalities. Cycling infrastructure was made better by the Dutch government and many cycling paths were constructed separately on a massive scale throughout the territory. Where the space was insufficient for making the paths segregated, signs were affixed showing an image of a cyclist with a car behind accompanied by the words ‘Bike street: Cars are guests’.
The same also happened in the country side areas of the Netherlands. Cycle paths connecting the villages with the towns were established and they are well-maintained and well-lit. And today even on roundabouts, you can cycle around while vehicles wait patiently for you to pass. A slogan gained popularity and i-e, ‘the bike is right’.
Chilly but refreshing weather condition in the Netherlands also became useful for flourishing the bicycling culture in the country. One can cycle short distances without breaking into a sweat. This means that people can cycle to work or school without having to shower or wash straight afterwards, as they more often might have to do in warm, hot or humid climates.
The Dutch parents start the trainings of their children right from the young age for riding the bicycles. The majority of the children above the age of 12 go to their schools on their bicycles. Children also appear in the traffic tests and they are also monitored how they ride the bicycles.
Bikes are available for everybody in the Netherlands and can be easily taken on rent across the country. There are countless bike shops with all the necessary equipment and repair services everywhere. In the parking areas, you’ll definitely find an appropriate bike stand where you can easily park your bike.
Families moving on bicycles and toddlers sitting in bakfiets, this is also so common in the Netherlands. Specially made baby seats are often equipped with canopies to protect them on the bikes. A back rack is also generally included with the bike. Such bikes in particular hold their value and are always in demand.
There are strict traffic regulations for the bikers in the Netherlands. There are cycle paths that are compulsory and there are cycle paths that are optional. They are signed with different road signs. Cycle lanes are always compulsory. No one is allowed to ride the bike under the influence of alcohol. A bicycle bell is also compulsory on every bike.
An average cyclist can typically expect to cover between 15 and 18 kilometers, on average, in an hour by bike throughout most areas of the Netherlands. For bicycletouring, all Dutch cities can be accessed on the dedicated cycling routes. There are also comprehensive maps and route planning tools available online or in smartphone and tablet apps.
It is also possible to take bicycles with you on trains, aircraft and ferries. However, there are certain conditions for every mode of transporting the bicycles. Travelers are expected to place their bicycles in the designated areas.
However apart from many beauties of the bicycling culture of Holland, Bike theft is also a darker page. Many youth take it as a hobby or sport, so the bike must be properly locked and adequately parked.
In the nutshell, bicycling culture of the Netherlands is an exquisite feature of Dutch society. Keeping a bike is an integral characteristic of the people of Holland. This culture has uplifted many values of the Dutch community. It has made them almost classless and played a vital role in stopping the environmental degradation.