Amsterdam: Cycling Heaven – 5 reasons why

Geelong moved a step closer to becoming a leading cycling city with the opening of the first stage of the Malop Street Green Spine last week.  There is now a one-way cycleway westwards from Yarra Street to Moorabool Street.  As funding becomes available, it is planned to extend this further along Malop Street.  City of Geelong is to be congratulated for this step towards making the Geelong CBD more people-friendly.  (Unfortunately, at least for the present, if you’re travelling eastwards, you still need to use the old bike lane with the hazards of fast-moving motor vehicles, and opening car doors.)

Amsterdam has one of the highest rates of cycling for transport in the world.  It wasn’t always so!  I recommend you read In the City of Bikes:  The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist by Pete Jordan (available at the Geelong Regional Library) to find out how Amsterdam transformed itself into a cycling Mecca. 

This is despite the fact that for much of the year, Amsterdam has an unfriendly climate for cycling.

Making a city where most trips are done on bikes requires utterly discarding conventional car-centric ways of thinking about transportation. Norman Garrick

With Geelong’s easy terrain, wonderful climate and the beginning of the Principal Bicycle Network, we’d love to see Geelong transformed to a place where cycling is the norm.

Five reasons why Amsterdam works so well for bikes

For more, here is an article on the five reasons why Amsterdam works so well for bikes.  Underlying all this is designing transport for people rather than cars.  In a city with a greater urban area population of 1.8 million people, traffic deaths are 2/100,000 of population.  Australia’s rate of traffic fatalities is close to triple this.

Look at any photo of people cycling in Amsterdam.  You’ll see  mixture of male and female, ages and many assorted bicycles.  One measure of how well our infrastructure makes cycling safe is the percentage of females riding bikes.

Cycling in Amsterdam. People go about their daily lives using bikes for transport. Low speeds and good infrastructure mean that cycling is safe for all. Image from http://www.local-life.com/amsterdam/articles/cycling-in-amsterdam

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