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Why the Dutch love bicycles

  Before the Second World War, the main means of transportation used by the Dutch was bicycles. But that changed in the 1950s and 1960s with the dramatic increase in the number of cars. Like many European countries, the roads in the Netherlands have become increasingly congested, with cyclists being pushed to the side of the road.
  The surge in the number of cars in the Netherlands has led to a sharp rise in traffic fatalities. In 1971, more than 3,000 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents, including 450 children.
  For this reason, a social movement has emerged in the Netherlands demanding that children be provided with safety guarantees for cycling. The name of the movement is “Stop Murdering Children”. The name comes from the title of an article written by journalist Vik Langenhoff, whose own child was tragically killed in a road accident.
  The Dutch faith in automotive reliability and sustainability was also shaken by the Middle East oil crisis of 1973, when oil producers in the Middle East stopped exporting oil to the United States and Western European countries.
  Pressure from both sides forced the Dutch government to invest in better cycling infrastructure, and Dutch urban planners began to move away from the car-centric road-building policies that have been pursued throughout urbanization throughout the Western world. .
  In order to make cycling more comfortable and safe, the Netherlands has built a huge network of dedicated cycle lanes. There are obvious signs on the bicycle lane, the road surface is flat, there are signs and traffic lights separate from the motor vehicle lane, and the width of the road surface is enough for two people to ride side by side and overtake.
  In many cities in the Netherlands, bicycle lanes are completely separated from motorways. Where space is limited, cyclists must share the road with motor vehicles, in which case a sign like this can be seen – with a picture of the cyclist and the car behind him, and the text: ” In the bicycle lane, the car is the guest.”
  Bicycles also have the right of way at intersections. When a cyclist passes an intersection, cars almost always stop and wait patiently for them to pass. The idea here is that “the bike is always right”, something that cyclists in the Netherlands often find inconceivable, and they generally don’t enjoy the right of way.
  Children in the Netherlands live in the world of bicycles before they even learn to walk. Babies and toddlers ride out in special seats on tricycles or cargo bikes. These seats are often covered with canopies to protect the little one from the sun and rain. Many parents spend a lot of money to equip their children. mounts.
  As children get older, they start to have their own bikes, and the segregated bike lanes are wide enough for children and accompanying parents to ride side by side. Cycling offers Dutch teenagers an alternative form of freedom, as Dutch laws prohibit those under the age of 18 from driving a car.
  The Dutch education sector also pays attention to bicycles. Cycling lessons are compulsory in Dutch schools. All schools have bicycle parking spaces; in some schools, 90% of students bike to class.
  In Groningen, a city in the northeast of the Netherlands, 10,000 bicycles can be parked in the underground parking lot of the Central Railway Station, which provides great convenience for cyclists. Cyclists here can enjoy the treatment that only car drivers have elsewhere – electronic counters are installed at the entrance of the parking lot, which can know how much space there is for bicycles in the parking lot.
  In the Netherlands, bicycle parking facilities can be found everywhere, including outside schools, office buildings and shops, and cyclists only need to lock their bicycles in designated places. If the bicycle is parked in the wrong place, the relevant management personnel will remove the bicycle and impound it. The owner of the bicycle needs to pay 25 euros to get the bicycle back.
  In the 16th century, houses in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, were taxed according to their width, so residents responded to this tax law by building tall and narrow houses. Even so, the corridors are full of bicycles. Since everyone rides bikes, no one really cares about it, just trying to get around the edge.
  Cycling is so commonplace in the Netherlands that when someone asks them if they are cyclists, they usually reply: “We are not cyclists, we are just Dutch.”
  Cycling is such an integral part of everyday life in the Netherlands that they don’t care if they have the latest model or high-tech riding gear. The Dutch see their bicycle as a trusted companion in life, a long-term relationship, so the older the bike, the better. In conclusion, owning a well-worn vintage car can make the owner look more important, because it is a testament to a long and lasting love for bicycles.
  The Netherlands’ famously flat terrain, combined with densely populated areas, means that most trips by bike are not very far and the ride is very smooth.
  Few Dutch people wear Lycra clothing on bicycles, they think that it is enough to wear whatever suits them, such as going to work, shopping or bars.
  The Dutch don’t need to wear helmets when cycling, as they are protected by cyclist-centred road laws and have an infrastructure designed and built with this in mind. If you see someone riding a bicycle with a helmet on in the Netherlands, chances are he’s a tourist or a professional rider.
  In the Netherlands, the fact that everyone rides a bike or knows someone who does, makes car drivers more compassionate when they need to share the road with a cyclist.
  Conversely, cycling should also obey the traffic rules. If you ride recklessly, go the wrong lane or run a red light, you will be penalized. If someone rides a bicycle without lights at night, the police (who often ride bicycles) will issue a fine of 60 euros. Relevant laws in the Netherlands stipulate that there are many places on the bicycle to post reflective sheets, and if the reflective sheets are missing, they will be punished more severely.
  Of course accidents still happen. When a collision involves a cyclist, insurance companies refer to section 185 of the Dutch Road Safety Act, the so-called “strict liability” category, where the driver of a car usually pays the cyclist at least 50% of the economic loss .
  The Dutch feel powerful and protected when they hit the road, which makes the whole experience of riding a bike more enjoyable and reassuring.

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