Note — Sep 02, 2018

How the Dutch Created a Casual Biking Culture

Nice interview about a new book on Dutch bike culture and how it can be applied elsewhere. Two bits that drew my attention that “students around grade four or five, in the 10 and 11 age range, start taking cycling skills courses.” (And exams.) And the quote below about two types of people on bikes. In Montréal, the “wielrenners” (sporty cyclists) are definitely an issue, where people see their commute as their gym time, not as just getting around. People discovering or rediscovering biking and still unsure on two wheels are also an issue but more understandable in my opinion.

The Dutch have wielrenners, or “wheel runners” — the sporty cyclists — and they have a fietser, which is just “someone on a bike.” When you talk to somebody in the Netherlands about what makes biking so special, most of them will say, “What are you even talking about? It’s no different than when I get on the train or go for a walk.” You’re no more a cyclist than you are a pedestrian or a driver or a public transit user. […]

But the Dutch show that [for them], safety in infrastructure, safety in slowing cars, and safety in numbers are all far more important than safety in body armor.