Friday, September 24, 2010

Bringing Dutch-Style Bicycle Facilities to the U.S.

On Thursday, the Bike Fed's Education Director, Jessica Binder, had the pleasure of attending a ThinkBike presentation in Chicago that explored the details of the Dutch bicycle infrastructure that supports the 80% people who bicycle at least once per week in the Netherlands. The Dutch consulate and Chicago DOT brought in a team of Dutch bicycle planners to share their knowledge and ideas. To attend this workshop, Jessica Binder had a very euro-style day. She biked her Taga bicycle (converts from bike to stroller and can hold a child - see picture at right) to the Amtrak station, converting the Taga bike into the Taga stroller so it could be brought on board the train. Once in Chicago, she converted the stroller back into bike mode and was early for the 8:30am start time for the conference. She wrote this note summarizing some of what she learned:
The highlights of the workshop included learning that, in the Netherlands, bicycle mode share declined to about 10% in the 1970s. Through major investments and a paradigm shift, much like the one the U.S. is experiencing now, they were able to recapture a lot of trips - bringing them to 28% bicycle mode share today. From a tram with a special open air cart to push bicycles up hills to streets with 18 mph speed limits, the Dutch have created a utopia for cycling that we in Wisconsin can learn from. Milwaukee's Bicycle Plan and some infrastructure plans for Madison draw on the Dutch for inspiration. After today's talk, I will too.

To help bring innovative bicycle facilities to Wisconsin that can get more people to ride more often, please join the Bike Fed. Your support helps us increase funding for bicycle infrastructure. Join now at and save 15 bucks with coupon code JB15off until October 15th.

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