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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    How the Dutch got their cycle paths

    The Dutch have safe streets and good cycling infrastructure because they got fed up with so many children being killed by cars and they hit the streets and demanded change. Child deaths in 1971: 400+. In 2010: 14. This is one of the most compelling reasons for moving away from car-centric transport. Why do citizens of other countries put up with the slaughter of so many kids?



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    Heretic Caretaker's Avatar
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    Here's a broader view of the History of Cycle Paths in The Netherlands.





    There are factors that made the developement of cycling infrastructure politically possible in The Netherlands and because these weren't present in other countries tended to hinder it. The Netherlands is a prosperous, compact, flat country with high population density. It also has a tradition of engineering solutions to problems e.g. dykes.

    This is not to make excuses for countries like my own and we all have a lot to learn from their practical approach to life.
    History is the future

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    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caretaker View Post
    There are factors that made the developement of cycling infrastructure politically possible in The Netherlands and because these weren't present in other countries tended to hinder it. The Netherlands is a prosperous, compact, flat country with high population density. It also has a tradition of engineering solutions to problems e.g. dykes.
    There are so many excuses for continuing to invest in more and more motorways and car parks instead of bike lanes and letting the slaughter of children continue! Here in Seville, the naysayers said it was too hot; in Amsterdam, I suppose they said it was too cold. In rich cities, they say prosperous folks will never give up their cars; in poor cities, like Bogotá, there was no money for such things (funny how there always seems to be plenty of money for car infrastructure, even in desperately poor countries where most people can't afford automobiles).

    Regarding the excuse that the Dutch were able to pull this off because they have "a tradition of engineering solutions", pleeeease! The United States and E.U. countries don't have such a tradition?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caretaker View Post
    This is not to make excuses...
    It sure sounds like it!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Oh, and regarding the "Holland is flat" excuse you gave, tell that to the folks in San Francisco.

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    Heretic Caretaker's Avatar
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    Don't know why you are getting so excited.

    The Dutch have done a great job and other countries haven't. There are reasons for this. To try and explain the reasons for this isn't to excuse.

    In democratic countries political support for change is necessary. There are reasons why there was political support for change in The Netherlands. If we understand the reasons maybe we can start to build support in our own countries.
    History is the future

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    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caretaker View Post
    Don't know why you are getting so excited.

    The Dutch have done a great job and other countries haven't. There are reasons for this. To try and explain the reasons for this isn't to excuse.

    In democratic countries political support for change is necessary. There are reasons why there was political support for change in The Netherlands. If we understand the reasons maybe we can start to build support in our own countries.
    Who's excited? I usually agree with you, but it this case I don't. That's cool!

  7. #7
    Older I get, faster I was con's Avatar
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    I would say as a general rule the population of my country does not, or chooses not, to view the fact that motor vehicles are the number one cause of accidental death for adults and youth and bicycles are number two for children.

    When I was a kid the school parking lot was empty and the bicycle racks over flowing at the beginning and end of each school day. Nowadays the bicycle racks are empty and the parking lots and streets are grid locked with mini vans and SUV’s at the beginning and end of the school day.

    It is no easy task to get folks back out of their cars. A good safe bike path network sure would be a great start and would keep far more of us, adult and youth alive.

    Well done Holland

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Nice film with good use of historical footage and a fantastic narrator.

    I'm so glad to see them go beyond the old cliche, "The Dutch ride bikes because it's flat there." The Dutch ride bikes because they want to. And why do they want to? Because forward looking people in the 1970s forcefully convinced fellow citizens that bikes would alleviate the problems of fatal injuries, city congestion, and dependence on expensive foreign oil. And how did these forward looking people convince their fellow citizens? Partly by holding mass demonstrations that got the points across in an interesting and meaningful way. I was particularly struck by the demonstration where cyclists laid their bikes down in the middle of a busy street.

    This demonstration in particular reminded me of present day Critical Mass and its practice of corking. Two cities where CM (and other "radical" cycling advocacy groups) were particularly active are New York and Portland. I don't think it's a coincidence that Portland now has the best infrastructure in the USA, and NYC seems determined to catch up with them.

    I know it's heresy to say anything favorable about CM on Bikeforums. But in my study of history, a group of citizens never got any changes made by being nice and quiet. You hve to make some noise to get anything done!


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  9. #9
    Heretic Caretaker's Avatar
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    The OPs video is titled "How The Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths" and claims that they got them because of demonstrations against cars and the rising death toll on the roads. In the video I posted we see that cycle paths in rural areas date from the late 19th C. and started appearing in Dutch cities as early as the 1930s and continued developing through the 40's and 50's.

    What I deduce from both these videos is that the Dutch turned back the tide of the motorcar because there was already a significant number of Dutch people who were commited to cycling.

    We can argue why this 'critical mass' of the Dutch public existed but the uniqueness of Dutch cycling was already well established by the mid-twentieth century. It's a credit to the Dutch people that they have maintained their relationship with the bicycle against the rise of the car over the last fifty years.

    The future for urban transportation in other countries may IMO lie more with public transport.
    History is the future

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caretaker View Post
    The OPs video is titled "How The Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths" and claims that they got them because of demonstrations against cars and the rising death toll on the roads. In the video I posted we see that cycle paths in rural areas date from the late 19th C. and started appearing in Dutch cities as early as the 1930s and continued developing through the 40's and 50's.

    What I deduce from both these videos is that the Dutch turned back the tide of the motorcar because there was already a significant number of Dutch people who were commited to cycling.

    We can argue why this 'critical mass' of the Dutch public existed but the uniqueness of Dutch cycling was already well established by the mid-twentieth century. It's a credit to the Dutch people that they have maintained their relationship with the bicycle against the rise of the car over the last fifty years.

    The future for urban transportation in other countries may IMO lie more with public transport.
    But weren't the people you're describing quite likely the sam people that were demonstrating in the video? As for your last comment about transit, yuo're probably right. But the Dutch are ahead of most countries on that front also, showing that there's room for cars, transit, and bikes,


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  11. #11
    sniffin' glue zoltani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caretaker View Post
    In democratic countries political support for change is necessary. There are reasons why there was political support for change in The Netherlands. If we understand the reasons maybe we can start to build support in our own countries.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
    Who's excited? I usually agree with you, but it this case I don't. That's cool!
    Ah, so political support is not necessary for change? Hmmm....

    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
    There are so many excuses for continuing to invest in more and more motorways and car parks instead of bike lanes and letting the slaughter of children continue!
    Oh right, being overly dramatic is how you you get things to change....

  12. #12
    sniffin' glue zoltani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
    Oh, and regarding the "Holland is flat" excuse you gave, tell that to the folks in San Francisco.
    You should have said "Tell that to the folks in Seattle".

    I have lived both places and Seattle is worse IMO, not as many flat routes around the hills. Plus Seattle has the hilliest downtown in the US!

    And supposedly Seattle just passed Portland with regards to number of people that commute to work! Edit: sorry, just found the source and we are number 2, behind protland of course. it was SF that we surpassed
    Last edited by zoltani; 10-20-11 at 05:44 PM.

  13. #13
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    This demonstration in particular reminded me of present day Critical Mass and its practice of corking. Two cities where CM (and other "radical" cycling advocacy groups) were particularly active are New York and Portland. I don't think it's a coincidence that Portland now has the best infrastructure in the USA, and NYC seems determined to catch up with them.
    CM may be one cause, but there are many others. In Portland, there were a number of things happening that played well into the goal of increasing cycling infrastructure. First and foremost was the city's plan to stop urban sprawl which greatly increased the population density.

    However, I do agree with the notion that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." We are seeing that now with all the Occupy Wall Street movement, where an opposition is forming around a series of different viewpoints... but all converging on the same idea.

    But if CM is going to lead the way, they probably need to hire on some marketing people since I imagine a lot of the bad press is not really justified....

  14. #14
    sniffin' glue zoltani's Avatar
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    Cycling in the us is increasing...
    https://public.sheet.zoho.com/public...largest-70-2-1

    Between 2005 and 2010, the percentage of people commuting by bike in Seattle increased 57 percent. Between 2000 and 2010, it increased 93 percent. Portland was 71% and 238% respectively. Those are pretty big increases!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
    The Dutch have safe streets and good cycling infrastructure because they got fed up with so many children being killed by cars and they hit the streets and demanded change. Child deaths in 1971: 400+. In 2010: 14. This is one of the most compelling reasons for moving away from car-centric transport. Why do citizens of other countries put up with the slaughter of so many kids?
    Thanks for posting.

    Auto death in the U.S. and other countries has become acceptable. If fact, other than self defense, the automobile maybe the only way to legally murder another human being. Killing the President of the United States is an act of treason, not so if it's done in an automobile by accident.

    Human life is very cheap and had to be made so because if second degree murder were handed our to every auto death, millions would have spent their lives in prirson in the last 50 years and that's just in the United States!

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    [QUOTE=Caretaker;13391370]

    The future for urban transportation in other countries may IMO lie more with public transport.
    Agreed.

    The carfree movement is the fight for public transportation. This downturn in the economy saw massive cuts in pubic transportation when people needed it most. If we want to see more people become carfree, we have to fight for more bus, commuter rail and especially lightrail services. GM was only able to motorize millions when they assisted in destroying our electric trolleys from our cities.

  17. #17
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    Thanks for posting.

    Auto death in the U.S. and other countries has become acceptable. If fact, other than self defense, the automobile maybe the only way to legally murder another human being. Killing the President of the United States is an act of treason, not so if it's done in an automobile by accident.

    Human life is very cheap and had to be made so because if second degree murder were handed our to every auto death, millions would have spent their lives in prirson in the last 50 years and that's just in the United States!
    Quote Originally Posted by Caretaker View Post

    The future for urban transportation in other countries may IMO lie more with public transport.
    Agreed.


    The carfree movement is the fight for public transportation. This downturn in the economy saw massive cuts in pubic transportation when people needed it most. If we want to see more people become carfree, we have to fight for more bus, commuter rail and especially lightrail services. GM was only able to motorize millions when they assisted in destroying our electric trolleys from our cities.
    You both need to do a little fact checking.

    CORRECTION: Both of the quotes above should be attributed to Dahon.Steve. Caretaker didn not write the post tha I inadvertantly attributed to him. Evidently, an error was made (by myself or the software--I don't know which) when I used the forum's Multi-quote function. I apologize for the error, caretaker and Dahon.Steve.
    Last edited by Roody; 10-23-11 at 05:21 PM.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  18. #18
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
    Oh right, being overly dramatic is how you you get things to change....
    Sorry, I'll try to be blasé about the deaths of so many children the next time it comes up.

  19. #19
    Heretic Caretaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    You both need to do a little fact checking.
    Roody, please do a little quote checking. Only the first sentence in the quote attributed to me was actually posted by me.

    I'd appreciate it if you edited your post accordingly.

    Thanks.
    History is the future

  20. #20
    Heretic Caretaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    But weren't the people you're describing quite likely the sam people that were demonstrating in the video? As for your last comment about transit, yuo're probably right. But the Dutch are ahead of most countries on that front also, showing that there's room for cars, transit, and bikes,
    People 'demonstrate' every day of the week. In any other country a demonstration or series of demonstrations against child deaths on the road would at most lead to a reduction of speed limits or a lowering of blood/alcohol levels or maybe as in the U.S. the introduction of airbags in cars. Only in The Netherlands, a country with a majority of cycling citizens, would it lead to a massive investment in cycle infrastructure and less road space for cars.

    The Netherlands is a unique country, in the same way that Venice is a unique city. Not to say (as I've already pointed out) that we can't learn a lot from it, we certainly can.

    Amsterdam, as an example of how the bicycle can be a major transport tool in a city is a wonderful example but not the only one. Berlin is also a very bike friendly city but seldom gets mentioned on LCF.

    Finally. Yes, there is room for "cars, transit and bikes".
    History is the future

  21. #21
    Heretic Caretaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
    Oh, and regarding the "Holland is flat" excuse you gave, tell that to the folks in San Francisco.
    Holland is a region in the west of the Netherlands. Bit like saying California when you mean the U.S.A.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holland
    History is the future

  22. #22
    Senior Member Rona's Avatar
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    Bike infrastructure was good before the 1950's, but there were several decades after where the car industry and the local governments started taking out bike lanes in favor of cars and auto parking. When the "Stop Child Murder" movement came about, it was because of a spike in child deaths brought about by the slow death of bike paths and expecting children to bike on the streets with cars.

    They also realized that a country dominated by cars would not work with a population of 2,000 per square mile. We have just too many people here for each family to own one car. I know in my own village, there isn't enough parking even with smaller cars that take up less space. In cities like Groningen, it's even more impossible to find space and many streets in the centrum are "car free" Buildings and street layout are from the 1600's. Buildings are 4 and 5 stories tall on a tiny footprint.

    Out in the countryside, some families have multiple cars.. but they are also just as likely to have only one car and use the bus system or bike to get to the nearest train station.
    http://ronajustine.blogspot.com
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