How did the Dutch get their network of bicycle paths?


The Netherlands is well known for its excellent cycling infrastructure. If you have ever cycled in Holland you know how lovely and stress free it is to ride a bike there. How did the Dutch get this network of bicycle paths? Read more here. But in a nutshell they had the political will on a national and municipal level to make serious changes in city infrastructure by turning away from car-centric policies and making room for alternative transport like cycling. Cycling is intrinsic in all transport policies. The Dutch cycling problems were and are not unique and there solutions shouldn't be that either.
Yes, extending existing cycle paths and roadways in Victoria has been great as it has begun to connect outer municipalities to the City centre. However, big changes still need to occur and we need some real commitments from the City of Victoria to make changes that really matter. For example, closing down parts of Government street to car traffic. Lets think about Sunday closure to specific parts of Government street and see how many cyclists come out on the street. (It was tested in Amsterdam with lasting results, the city centre no longer accepts traffic and it is a thriving hub). Lets canvass local business to see if traffic to their business changes or increases. I know, there will be some initial resistance from retail but they will soon realize that bicycles bring business.
A great article found in Momentum Magazine on "How Bicycles bring business." 

    

It was announced last February that the BC government announced that the City of Victoria will receive $47,964 in funding from Bike BC's Cycling Infrastructure Partnerships Program (CIPP) towards the installation of new bike lanes. Portions of the new bike lanes will be "buffered", which means that the area between the vehicle travel lane and the marked bike lane will include two parallel lines approximately half a metre a part. They say "Buffered" bike lanes improve safety for cyclists as they provide visual and physical separation between bicycles and motor vehicles on the road.

I'm having trouble understanding how this "buffered" painted white lines improves safety and add physical seperation for cyclists? As a daily rider cycling in painted bike lanes doesn't give me a sense of being "safe" especially when cars can and still do enter into the painted bike lane.

In my humble opinion, I think there needs to be a physical barrier between moving bikes and cars to add value to the proposed cycling infrastructure. People for Bikes has compiled a few ways a city can improve cycling safety and encourage more riders to get out on their bikes. What makes these separated bike lanes unique is the presence of some type of physical barrier between moving bikes and cars, not painted lines. Physical barriers actually keep cars out of the bike lanes and prepares for a more permanent situation in future permanent infrastructure changes if money isn't available to do it all in one go.

Physical barriers used in Cities around the world:

Half-wheels in Seville, Spain

 

Protected bike lanes are some of the most important infrastructure improvements that advocates can push for. These new lanes are great ways for communities to provide a more convenient and lower stress option for people who are interested in cycling but uncomfortable riding on busy streets. - See more 

"small humps" in the UK

A now-famous Portland study found that while a small percentage of citizens are confident riding in traffic, an estimated 60 percent of citizens were “interested but concerned” about safety while cycling. Protected lanes can help folks overcome these concerns. Protected bike lanes can elevate cities to new levels of bike-friendliness. In global cities with the strongest cycling cultures – Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Bogotá – separated lanes are boilerplate construction features that make cycling accessible for citizens from age eight to eighty. 

 

With little space to expand or widen roadways, innovative leaders realize that better bicycle infrastructure is one of the best ways to move people, especially in urban areas. Protected bike lanes make economic sense, too. A study by the New York City Department of Transportation found that new protected bike lanes on 8th and 9th Avenues in Manhattan corresponded with a 49 percent increase in retail sales at local businesses, compared to a 3 percent increase throughout the borough. - See more

Row planters in Vancouver, BC

I'm disappointed in the decisions being made for infrastructure changes in Victoria. I'll be sending this along to Mayor Dean Fortin. If you feel moved to do the same perhaps our message will be heard. We need dividers to keep cars out of bike lanes, truly keep cyclist safe from moving traffic and really encourage more cyclists to get out on their bikes and ride.

Joie de vivre


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