BICYCLE DUTCH

All about cycling in the Netherlands

How Dutch Cycling benefits society

“I intend to keep on showing you even more Dutch Cycling in 2019”, that’s what I promised in my last real post of 2018 and in this post, the first one of the new year, you will get that quite literally! This post will be about the “Dutch Cycling Vision” by the Dutch Cycling Embassy. But first: Happy New Year everyone and may it be a good year for cycling!

Happy New Year, may 2019 bring good things and a lot of cycling. (No I did not photoshop that 19 in. That is a numbered junction in the system of numbered junctions for recreational cycling.)

The new brochure from the Dutch Cycling Embassy: “Dutch Cycling Vision”. Picture DCE.

As you know I aim to be an ambassador for the way we cycle in the Netherlands by trying to explain all the positive effects our cycling culture has on the Dutch society as a whole. Next week is my 10 year anniversary of doing this and I was also officially appointed Dutch Cycling Ambassador by the Dutch Cycling Embassy over two years ago. The Embassy has created a document, recently, in which they have compiled the currently available numbers and figures of multiple researches about Dutch Cycling into one document. As part of the national bicycle agenda Tour de Force 2020the Dutch Cycling Vision showcases what cycling creates, in terms of economy, environment, health, happiness, accessibility, safety and social equity.”

This page from the brochure features three pictures made by yours truly. The entrances of the station bicycle parking facility in Utrecht and Maastricht and a cycle street in Utrecht. Picture DCE.

One of the infographics in the new brochure. You will find all these facts mentioned in my video. Picture DCE.

The resulting brochure, which is available from the Embassy’s new website in English, French and German, has all the benefits of cycling described lively with a lot of cool infographics. In the final member meeting of 2018 the Embassy’s director asked the members to spread this brochure and its contents widely. Now, my expertise is making videos about Dutch Cycling, so that is exactly what I did for this first post of 2019. I translated the Dutch Cycling Vision into a video, which is my way of spreading the word. There are such a lot of facts and figures in this video (and the Vision it was based on) that I decided to include the integral text of the video in this post with footnotes pointing to the sources.

Enjoy!

Dutch Cycling, my first video for 2019.

Video Text

Cycling is very good for a society. The Dutch approach to cycling can help achieve accessibility, liveability, sustainability and health goals. The 17 million Dutch own almost 23 million bicycles and a quarter of all trips – nationwide – are made by bicycle. Still the Dutch Government earmarked a quarter of a billion euros to get another 200,000 commuters out of their car and onto their bicycles[1]. In their new program called Dutch Cycling, the Dutch Cycling Embassy explains why that is such a good idea.

Cycling is inexpensive, for people: the annual cost of riding a bike is approximately 300 euros whereas the annual cost of driving a car is approximately 8500 euros[2].

And for society: a kilometre covered by bike yields a social benefit of 0.68 euro cents, whereas buses cost society 29 cents per kilometre travelled and cars 37 euro cents[3].

Cyclists spend more in local shops! Although cyclists spend less per visit, they spend more overall because they shop more often than people driving[4].

Cycling is also good for the environment.

Not only does the product life cycle of a bicycle generate minimal carbon emissions[5],

the local air quality improves drastically when people switch from cars to bicycles. It reduces 65% NOx per kilometre travelled[6].

Public space is improved by turning car space into people’s space. This improves the local environment. Cycling is silent and helps to reduce traffic noise[7].

Riding a bicycle is a healthy, fun and low impact form of exercise for all ages. Employees cycling to work are less likely to call in sick. Cycling keeps you fit longer and your immune system young[8].

Cycling regularly boosts physical fitness and prolongs life expectancy by 3 to 14 months. Cycling 30 minutes every day is equivalent to the weekly recommended level of physical activity[9]. It also reduces the risk of serious diseases and depression: 40% less for Cancer, 52% less for Heart diseases and over 40% less for Premature death[10].

Cycling makes you happy! 59% of all cyclists associate cycling with joy and only 2% dislike cycling[11].

Dutch children are the happiest in the world. Cycling allows them to reach destinations safely and gives them the feeling of freedom[12].

Cycling improves the quality of life. It is associated with convenience, independence, flexibility and always arriving on time[13].

Cycling creates public space: Bicycles take up less space than cars, both for driving and in the amount of space taken up by parking. 1 car parked = 10 bicycles parked[14]

Within the urban environment, locations are easier to reach by bicycle – or a combination of bicycle and public transport – than by car[15].

Cycling saves you time. Without the need to search for a parking spot the bicycle is the fastest means of transportation within the urban environment[16].

Separating cyclists from motorised traffic results in fewer accidents and cycling cities have fewer casualties among cyclists. Developing a clear road safety program reduced 1.600 traffic casualties between 1998-2007 in the Netherlands[17].

Lower traffic speeds result in fewer deadly accidents. The likelihood of a deadly accident at speeds 30km/h or less is approximately 75% less than at 50km/h[18].

Cycling encourages social participation: Cycling requires social interaction with other road users to mediate traffic flows or to prevent collisions. As a result, cycling is experienced as a social activity[19].

Cycling keeps the elderly socially connected and active for longer[20].

The Dutch believe their approach to cycling can be applied in other countries too. Cities and regions around the world can benefit from Dutch expertise[21].

Dutch cycling could also improve your quality of life!

 

Sources

[1] Veldhoven, S. van, Minister for the Environment, in Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[2] Hendriksen, I. and R. van Gijlswijk (2010), Fietsen is groen, gezond en voordelig [Cycling is green, healthy, and economical]. Leiden: TNO Quality of Life group. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[3] Decisio (2016), Waarde en Investeringsagenda Fietsen Verantwoordingsrapportage [Justification report on the social value of and investment agenda for cycling]. Amsterdam: Decisio. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[4] Decisio (2017), Waarderingskengetallen MKBA Fiets: state-of the art [Rating indicators of cycling SCBA: state-of-the-art]. Amsterdam: Decisio. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[5] European Cyclists’ Federation. (2016). Shopping by bike: Best friend of your city centre | ECF. [online] Available at: https://ecf.com/groups/shopping-bike-best-friend-your-city-centre [Accessed 5 Sep. 2018]. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[6] Harms, L. and Kansen, M. (2018). Cycling Facts. [online] Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, p.13. Available at: https://english.kimnet.nl/publications/publications/2018/04/06/cycling-facts [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018]. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[7] Institute for Transport Studies, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna (2010). Cycle-friendly cities – How cities can stimulate the use of bicycles. [e-book] CIVITAS GUARD – Evaluation, Monitoring and Dissemination for CIVITAS II. Available at: http://civitas.eu/sites/default/files/civitas_ii_policy_advice_notes_03_cycling_and_walking.pdf [Accessed 5 Sep. 2018]. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[8] Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[9] De Hartog, Jeroen Johan, et al. (2010), “Do the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks?” Environmental health perspectives 118.8 (2010): 1109. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[10] Hans Nijland (2017): Fietsen leidt tot langer en gezond leven [Cycling leads to a longer and healthier life]. The Hague, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[11] Harms et al. (2017), Stabiele beelden verdiept; trends in beleving en beeldvorming van mobiliteit. [In-depth look at stable images; trends in perception of mobility]. The Hague, Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[12] Taskovski Films. (2018). Why We Cycle – Trailer. [Online Video]. Available at: https://vimeo.com/246432864. [Accessed 12 Sep. 2018]. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[13] Harms et al. (2017), Stabiele beelden verdiept; trends in beleving en beeldvorming van mobiliteit. [In-depth look at stable images; trends in perception of mobility]. The Hague, Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[14] 1 Fietscommunity [Cycling community] (2017), Van wie is de stad? [Who owns the city?] The Hague: Platform 31. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[15] Tetteroo, E. (Erik), 2015. Urban Cycling = HOD. Master City Developer. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[16] Tetteroo, E. (Erik), 2015. Urban Cycling = HOD. Master City Developer. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[17] Schepers, P., Methorst, R., Thüsh, M., van der Voet, M. and Wegman, F. (2014). Ontvlechten van fiets en snelverkeer. [ebook] Available at: https://library.swov.nl/action/front/fulltext?id=339618 [Accessed 5 Sep. 2018]. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[18] Archer, J., Fotheringham, N., Symmons, M. and Corben, B. (2008). The Impact of Lowered Speed Limits in Urban and Metropolitan Areas. [e-book] Monash University Accident Research Centre. Available at: https://www.monash.edu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/216736/muarc276.pdf [Accessed 5 Sep. 2018]. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[19] Avila-Palencia, I., Int Panis, L., Dons, E., Gaupp-Berghausen, M., Raser, E., Götschi, T., Gerike, R., Brand, C., de Nazelle, A., Orjuela, J., Anaya-Boig, E., Stigell, E., Kahlmeier, S., Iacorossi, F. and Nieuwenhuijsen, M. (2018). The effects of transport mode use on self-perceived health, mental health, and social contact measures: A cross-sectional and longitudinal study. Environment International, 120, pp.199-206. Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[20] VeiligheidNL (2018). Toolkit fietsveiligheid. [online] Veiligheid.nl. Available at: https://www.veiligheid.nl/valpreventie/voorlichtingsmateriaal/toolkit-fietsveiligheid [Accessed 5 Sep. 2018] Via Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

[21] Veldhoven, S. van, Minister for the Environment, in Dutch Cycling Vision from Dutch Cycling Embassy, October 2018.

28 comments on “How Dutch Cycling benefits society

  1. Pingback: Cycling in Amsterdam through French eyes – Bicycle Dutch

  2. Kevin Love
    10 January 2019

    I strongly suspect that the real reason why cyclists spend more in local shops is because they are not paying 8,500 euros per year for a car.

  3. Pingback: How Dutch Cycling benefits society – Biks.co.uk

  4. Adrian Berendt
    4 January 2019

    A joyous video. I have retweeted. One TINY semantic suggestion is to change the word “accident”, which implies something that couldn’t be avoided. Collisions can almost always be prevented if motor vehicle drivers take more care

  5. Pingback: The Cost of Cycling – part 2 – Brian's Blog

  6. bensloper
    4 January 2019

    Just to say Thank you so much for your youtube videos, which I watch to inspire my cycleway dreams, as I know we in England will never have such infrastructure, it is a real joy to see how to Do It Right, as you Netherlanders do! We have a few good things, but they are few and far between, so it wonderful to keep watching your videos – Keep Up The Good Work!

    • P Wat
      23 November 2019

      > bensloper and all other cycling ambassadors.

      Never say “Never”. We must keep trying.
      This is the most convincing of the “Bicycle Dutch” videos I have seen so far (and I’ve watched many), but you and I are already convinced.
      When will we get it right in UK?
      How does one break through to the car-centric community? So often they excuse themselves with feeble responses; “Holland (sic) is flat”, or “I’m too old”.
      (I’m over 70.)

      Wonderful video, thank you Mark Wagenbuur. Keep up the excellent work.
      PW

  7. Uncool Cycling Club
    3 January 2019

    Excellent summary of the benefits of cycling.

  8. Ltrw
    3 January 2019

    Are there any negatives associated with cycling? I was going to say “No” but on further thought there is. A bicycling accident can be debilitating or worse. I’ve read where the accident numbers, rate is low, etc, etc. but when I looked at hospital admission statistics I believe this is true: cycling is very dangerous, even in The Netherlands.

    Over the course of one’s life, for people who cycle as the main mode of transport, there is a high probability of ending up in the hospital at some time as a result of a cycling incident. It appears curbs, ice, parked cars at night, older age and cycling at night are major factors for such accidents.

    The solution: Better infrastructure with a strong emphasis on safety. Society can also be educated as to the best cycling practices. I saw many more cyclists with helmets this summer in The Netherlands, particularly on children. Maybe this will be a trend? I hope so.

    • Bicycle Dutch
      3 January 2019

      You shoud really read my post about the numbers of death from last year. It is not enough to look at hospital admissions. You should take into account how much people cycle. If you do that you’ll learn that cycling is not dangerous, on the contrary: it is becoming safer. Any injured person on a bike is one too many, not to mention people dying. But the Dutch have already created the safest system for cycling, Improvements are necessary, but they will mostly be for motorised traffic (lower speeds, even more separation), because motortraffic is still the cause of most traffic deaths and injuries with cycling.

      • Omer van den Belt
        3 January 2019

        “because motor traffic is still the cause of most traffic deaths and injuries with cycling.” Unfortunately, the Governments in the English speaking countries still don’t understand this. They keep saying that people should wear their helmets. But, wearing a helmet is like a band aid on a broken leg. Taking proper measures to heal that broken leg is more useful.

        I’ve watch a YouTube video (German language) about right turning truck drivers at traffic lights that don’t see the cyclist that wants to go straight ahead. Unfortunately, the possibility of placing comments was switched off. Otherwise, I would have placed a comment with your video about truck and cyclist in The Netherlands.

      • Ltrw
        3 January 2019

        That post is about the number of deaths. I discovered that cycling accidents, the kind serious enough to require hospital care, when factoring in total hours of cycling, is a very high risk by general safety standards In fact, if these kind of accidents were a disease, like the flu, then cycling accidents would be a national “epidemic”. In the US 1 case out of 10,000 people is an epidemic.

        But even the “low” death figures of about 200 per year is indictive I believe of high risk, all things factored in.

        Even considering all this I had forgotten that I was in fact hit by a car in The Netherlands while on holiday. Luckily I only had some bad scrapes and a sore shoulder that took years to heal.

        • USbike
          3 January 2019

          The level of safety in regards to cycling in the Netherlands is already likely the best in the world, and about as good as you’re going to get in any country. The Dutch could further improve this by making small upgrades to locations that are still less than idea, but they have created the most ideal system available that is conducive to mass cycling. And even the “perfect” system, whatever that is, is going to have instances of injury and death. People are not perfect and life is risky. No activity is going to be zero risk when entire populations are concerned. The only way the cycling injuries and fatalities are going to drop to 0% in the Netherlands is if every single person there stopped cycling. Even then, people will inevitably get hurt, killed and/or sick by other means. But the cycling statistics would look great, wouldn’t it (aside from the fact that no one is actually cycling anymore)? I don’t think anyone would give serious thought to such an absurd proposition.

          Driving, on the other hand, results in more than 1 million deaths worldwide each year and untold numbers of injuries and damage to property. There’s not a disease or activity (not even wars) that consistently kill and injure that many people every year. If anything, driving should be banned first and foremost. But I don’t see that as a realistic option at this point and have no idealistic beliefs that that will happen anytime soon.

          • Ltrw
            3 January 2019

            I was just saying that with all the wonderful benefits of a “cycling culture” there does in fact exist a downside. You can’t get the risk to 0 but you can make awareness of safety a priority. In my life I have seen that many serious cycling accidents were totally preventable. Countries that want to create cycling infrastructure should make safety a priority.

            • USbike
              4 January 2019

              I don’t disagree with your sentiments. Safety is important. The Dutch obviously take it very serious by constantly making upgrades, large and small, to the most problematic areas. That being said, I do think it’s possible to overemphasize on safety, which I feel has happened in Denmark. The government has been pushing everyone to wear helmets for the last 10 years, partly by constantly pointing out the number of injuries and deaths as if it was a serious epidemic. The campaign has been very effective considering helmet usage went from the lower single digits up to 38% of all Danish cyclists now. That number in and of itself is just a statistic.
              But one result, at least from interacting with my Danish friends and their family and friends, is that they feel the need to always wear helmets now, no matter where or how far they bike. There’s also a general decrease in subjective safety since the paranoia of the possibility of falling or being hit by cars or other cyclists is always on the back of their minds. While Denmark is not #1 for cycling, it is certainly one of the best in the world and they have been making small improvements here and there for cycling. But despite all this, my friends all feel less confident now than they did their entire lives. There needs to be a balance, and I prefer the Dutch approach of addressing infrastructure deficiencies and keeping the coddling to a bare minimum.

  9. Brian
    2 January 2019

    Another informative and interesting post. I have too much to respond with here, instead I’ve written on my own blog with links back to here.

    • rrustema
      10 January 2019

      I wrote a lenghty reaction to Brian’s blogposting. I develop the thesis that the bicyclist holds the supermarket prices down because petrol and parking costs are not prohibitive to do serious comparative shopping, commemorating the Great Supermarket War (2003-2006) and the demise of this popular practise.

      Also, zoning restrictions since the 70s prevents the big surface supermarkets with endless parking lots. Small supermarkets everywhere with many products cater to the bicyclist who can park a few meters next to the entrance.

      Interesting also, parents can send their kids to the (always nearby) supermarket with a shopping list.

      • E van Hout
        15 January 2019

        yup. That’s what I did when the kids were 10 years and older: “I forgot to get bread. If you want bread for your breakfast you have to go to the supermarket. And while you’re there, also buy some cheese. Here is the money” And off they went.
        A very good back up method for forgotten groceries 🙂

  10. Pingback: The Cost of Cycling – part 1 – Brian's Blog

  11. Joe Paxton
    2 January 2019

    Another great video Mark – thanks!

  12. Eddy
    2 January 2019

    Cycling inhibits stress because of traffic noise. This stress has a negative effect on our helth. Hence, cycling is good for our health.

  13. Jim Gordon
    2 January 2019

    300 a year cost to ride a bike. That’s low. If everything goes right and you fix it yourself then yes. Pancake a wheel, broken handle bars and controls. If it gets stolen then that’s out. I know we can run a car for less than 8500 a year. Bicycles are awesome, why mislead with cost?

    • Bicycle Dutch
      2 January 2019

      Funny, to a Dutch person that €300 sounds way too high, and there is really no way you could own and maintain a car for much less than €8,500 in the Netherlands. An answer from a Dutch person to explain (from YouTube): “I think that they estimate 150 a year for servicing your bike and the rest is flat tires, batteries for lights, broken/stolen lights/bells/… and just the overal average cost over the bike divided by the average amount of years it’s used. I really don’t go over 100 for servicing myself and I use my bikes pretty long usually. I think it costs me about 150 a year.” (Wouter van R.)

    • ReindeR Rustema
      2 January 2019

      The €300 per year obviously is an average. The statistical dispersion from the average is probably considerable. Some bicyclists approach zero in costs (DIY repairs with found parts) and some probably spend up to a thousand for the latest gear.

    • Joris M
      2 January 2019

      It is an average. At the bottom of the market that is plenty to buy an nth hand bike, lock, and sets of lights every single year. Which are bikes that are parked for free.
      And there are now lease-options for basic bikes (including repairs) starting at €15 a month.

  14. Ltrw
    2 January 2019

    What a fantastic video. All governments around the world need to see and digest this video. You should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Really!

  15. ReindeR Rustema
    2 January 2019

    My bicycle from 1956 costs on average €129,37 per year. Based on all the expenses I made since 1996. The biggest repair was €339,70 in 2017. A similar repair 15 years earlier was only €225. I sort of accepted by now that every 15 years I need to spend a lot of money. But the 36 cents per day is worth it.

  16. Pingback: How Dutch Cycling benefits society – Go Cycling

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