We are visiting the Netherlands and learning a lot about this small, densely populated country. One of the most obvious sites (besides the windmills) in both urban and rural areas is bicycles.
The Dutch have the most bicycles per head of population in the world. (1.3 per citizen old enough to ride) Many Dutch own more than one—one for everyday use and a “best” one for cycle trips. According to Wikipedia, 27% of all trips in the Netherlands are made with bicycles.
And the Dutch have bicycles adapted for any use. They are used to transport dogs, children, groceries, even suitcases!
There are two primary reasons for this high usage: the flat Dutch countryside and the excellent availability of cycling paths that are well-maintained and well-lit.
Seventy-five percent of secondary students cycle to school. In order to increase safety they must pass a traffic exam to be awarded their Verkeersdiploma. Interestingly though, the Dutch do not wear helmets for their numerous cycling trips—that safety piece of equipment is used only by racers and mountain bikers.
With so many bicycles, parking them can be a problem. Some public facilities have fancy bicycle parking ramps, but sometimes passing train station, it was clear that where to park a bicycle is a big problem. I cannot imagine this problem happening in the U.S. We could learn a lot from our European neighbors about public and self-propelled transportation.
Signing off from an Amsterdam cafe,