Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Video: Evolution of bike lanes in the Netherlands

I saw this video on the Small Wheels Big Smile blog and found it interesting. The short film details the evolution of modern cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands. I  was surprised to learn that Holland also gave in to cars and highways in the 1950's. And that their cycling culture was revived only in the late 1970's.

They reverted back to bikes for the same reasons why most of us do today, namely:
1. Traffic;
2. High fuel costs;
3. Economic crisis; and
4. Air pollution and the destruction of the environment.

But what caught my attention was their fifth reason:
5. Increase in the number of child deaths caused car accidents.

I think that's what pushed the Dutch to change their transportation policies. In my opinion, that was their tipping point. Ang galing ng pag-iisip nila: Stop driving cars because it kills more people, whether as passengers or pedestrians.

If this was debated today in the Philippines, our policy makers won't even make an issue out of it. I can imagine them even defending the car industry by saying a car protects its passengers and that a bike leaves a cyclist vulnerable to the elements and other motorists. Our lawmakers would even find fault with parents leaving their kids to ride their bicycles in the streets, and that they should have known better. 

And this is the reason why I don't believe we'll have any drastic change in cycling infrastructure here in the foreseeable future. We don't think like the Dutch.  

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