All about cycling in the Netherlands
In this first post of the year I’d like to focus on the second stage of the Tour de Force which starts right now, in 2020. But we can of course only do that after I wished you all a Gelukkig Nieuwjaar, a very happy New Year!
It has become somewhat of a tradition that I look at national figures or policies in the first post of the year. This time I can show you the program of Tour de Force that has been running for quite a few years now. In 2015, when the Tour de France started in Utrecht, the opportunity was seized to do something with that interest for cycling. A collaboration was started between a number of governmental bodies, national, regional and local, with private organisations, knowledge institutes and platforms which were and are all committed to empower the cycling policies in the Netherlands. This collaboration was named “Tour de Force”. At the start of the operations in 2017, Tour de Force set an ambitious goal: “Increase the amount of the cycled distance by 20 percent in 2027, compared to 2017″. For the first stage (2017-2020) a National Bicycle Agenda was created, which – Tour de Force reports – was very successful.With Tour de Force actively promoting cycling for so long things are indeed really changing. Much has been achieved collectively and there is even a group ahead of the peloton. They joined forces in the F10 group. The group that goes for a 10 out of 10 in Cycling (Fietsen, hence the F). To make use of this fantastic momentum the second stage aims to boost cycling even further, because “the finishing line is not yet in sight”. Now it is time for the second stage, for which the theme has become “Scale up Cycling”. In this second stage Tour de Force wants to “create more space for the bicycle as an obvious, attractive and safe mode of transport, as a way to exercise and spend leisure time”.
According to Tour de Force, the boost requires a change in the Dutch way of thinking about cycling planning, about financing cycling projects and more importantly: “we need to change the use of the available space!” That’s right, even the Dutch feel that for cycling to really thrive they themselves need to think even more differently about cycling than they already did (compared to the rest of the world).
In the document explaining the goals of Stage 2 the organisation reports that cycling can make the difference in five developments in society.
But Tour de Force also sees that no two cyclists are the same. To achieve the goals in a good way that should always be kept in mind, because the different types of cyclists each have their own specific needs. Tour de Force distinguishes 6 types of cyclists:
For all these people there are shared requirements as well as differences in approach. Different cyclists need different things, but all groups require a good network of safe and comfortable cycling routes.
Tour the Force distinguishes five main themes:
Cycling in the city
To make cycling more important, a direct link between spatial (urbanisation) requirements and mobility must be created. The available space must be redistributed for the variety in modalities, thus shaping the urban public domain. Tour de Force focusses on the design of the cycle way of the future, on supporting local authorities in their efforts to modernise (cycling) parking standards, and on trying to fully embed cycling in zoning schemes.
Cycling and public transport form a golden combination for longer distances. It is essential that Parking facilities for bicycles and (shared) bicycle supply at transfer locations are adequate. There is also potential for a car-bicycle combination. Tour de Force focusses on exploring the possibilities of pre- and post-transport cycling, at public transport hubs and existing car parking.
A high-quality cycling network
Cycling is the obvious choice for commuters, (school)children and students when there is a high-quality cycling network,. Tour de Force focusses on expanding and upgrading the cycling network, building high-quality, safe and sustainable cycling infrastructure, and enhancing recreational cycling routes. This boosts regional economic development, and promotes the Netherlands as a cycling holiday country at the same time.
Stimulate bicycle use and cycling initiatives
Next to the infrastructural measures, behavioural measures are necessary to increase bicycle use. Campaigns aimed at specific target groups are effective, for instance encouraging parents to take their children to school by bicycle or informing employers about stimulating employees to come to work by bike.
Support for and knowledge about cycling
There is a lot of knowledge about cycling in the Tour de Force network. But more cycling data is necessary. This is useful when the effectiveness of projects and activities needs to be measured. Cycling data will also increase cycling knowledge within the sector, regarding education as well as research. Tour de Force would like to combine and utilise knowledge about cycling and make standardised Data about bicycle use readily available. This is a way to optimise the concept of ‘Dutch Cycling’.
For cycling to really thrive in all these fields, it is essential to make serious choices and dedicated investments in the project ‘Scale up Cycling’. Research into the challenges in town centres, regarding the cycling network and as a result of the integrated approach clearly shows that an increase in cycling in the modal shift will provide a huge return on investment in all of these topics, for everybody. When you invest your money in cycling it is money well spent!
Tour de Force, Stage 2 explained in my video
You can download the summary of the 2nd stage Scale up Cycling of Tour de Force (in English) here:
• Summary – Tour de Force – 2nd stage Scale up Cycling