Amsterdam: champion in cycling

Where bikes are so popular that the city is facing the issue of bicycle congestion

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By Manu

Amsterdam: champion in cycling

Every day, 490,000 people take their bikes and travel a total distance of 2 million kilometers in a city that has more than 400 kilometers of bicycle paths for its 780 000 habitants. Amsterdam has more bicycles than people, and four times more bicycles than cars!

Amsterdam has a flattering reputation as one of the world capitals of bike. An enviable position, but this city is beginning to experience some inconvenience concerning two-wheelers. People may be inclined to think that these types of inconveniences were only reserved to cars.

In this city, typically a person has more than one bike and that for practical reasons: a  heavier “cargo bike”  for shopping, and a lighter bike for commuting.

FOCUS: Why 1 mile by bicycle benefits society and 1 mile by car breaks the economy

Therefore nowadays, the city is facing the issue of bicycle congestion and a lack of parking for both two – and four-wheelers. “The most used bike paths are too small for the growing stream of cyclists,” acknowledged the city council, announcing at the same time, the construction of 15 kilometers of new bike paths.

Traffic flow can become insane at certain times of the day. Changing direction can become dangerous since there are many bicycles, taxis, trams and pedestrians.

Amsterdam: champion in cycling
Massive bicycle parking in Amsterdam Central Station.

The largest and most particularly visible problem is the huge and now famous Amsterdam Central Station, which has become a huge carpark. In October 2008, the city of Amsterdam has calculated its occupancy: 136%. Completely saturated despite its 10,000 parking spaces on three floors, the lower pole, fence or barrier are completely occupied by bicycles and locks!

Mr. Korn, from the Department of Transport and traffic of the city, said the Dutch capital will invest € 100 millions to improve cycling infrastructure, including the creation of 38 000 parking places for bikes by 2020.

But if you ask any cyclist in Amsterdam , what  solution they’d suggest to decongest the city, their answers are  unanimous : we must further reduce the space reserved for cars to reclaim space for bikes!

Quite a simple solution, isn’t it?

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