The Dutch and the Danish pass back and forth the crown for best cycling country. Now new research (from the Dutch) shows Holland to have the safest cycling roads (graph after the jump). Here's how Tineke Huizinga, State Secretary of Transport, views the bike:
"The bicycle oils the wheels of the municipal traffic system. Cycling means arriving at work, school or the gym in a more alert frame of mind, feeling creative and positive."
That may seem like a subjective statement, but the Dutch have found cyclists do have fewer sick days. And, amazingly, cycling safety is NOT give the highest priority in Dutch planning.
More Dutch cycling = safer cyclists
The Dutch, in their 2009 Cycling in the Netherlands report, attribute Holland's low number of cycling fatalities - 2 people killed per 100 million kilometers traveled by bike - to the fact that so many of the Dutch are also cyclists. It isn't a 'we versus them' mentality any longer, now that each person owns an average of 1.1 bicycles. This coupled with the fact that, as the report states: "Wearing a bicycle helmet for daily trips is unusual in the Netherlands," is indeed food for thought.
In addition, Dutch liability dovetails with the recent TreeHugger post of making heavier vehicles more responsible in accidents.
From the report:
"The Dutch philosophy is: Cyclists are not dangerous; cars and car drivers are: so car drivers should take the responsibility for avoiding collisions with cyclists. This implies that car drivers are almost always liable when a collision with a bicycle occurs and should adapt their speed when bicycles share the roads with cyclists."
All that being said, the report also reiterates that increased cycling doesn't happen on its own, and in fact, Dutch municipalities have spent much money and time stimulating bicycle use because doing so tends to "serve a broad range of social objectives." The Dutch city of Groningen has the top ranking among Holland's cities: the share of bicycle use is around 40%. How do they do it? According to the report: policy, coherence, and continuity. Via: Ecoprofile and Fietsberaad
Note: Photo and graphic from Fietsberaad report.
Read more on cycling in the Netherlands
Why do the Dutch Like Bikes So Much?
Dutch Cycling: Remember the Phone, Forget the Helmet
Bakfiets: Move It, Move It
A Brain Surgeon on Bicycle Helmets
Amsterdam Edging Ahead of Copenhagen as Most Bike-Loving Euro-Capital?