After my earlier post about bikes I planned to follow it with one on cycling. And now nearly 6 months later I’ve finally got it together to publish.
In the Netherlands everyone cycles, in fact I have been told there are more bikes than people. In our house this is true as my husband complains that he’s the only one without two bikes. But what this means is that all pedestrians and car drivers are also cyclists, and so are more aware of what a cyclist might do. And are more tolerant of them on the roads. Though most roads have separate cycle lanes anyway, and in some places these are in better condition than the roads. The Dutch have pursued a policy of making it safe for cyclists with the separate lanes etc, rather than requiring cyclists to wear helmets.
I do appreciate these, but still think that helmets are worthwhile even so. Especially for the children. I saw lots of children doing their cycling proficiency before the summer and none of them wore helmets. In fact it’s generally a sign of a non-Dutch parent if a child is wearing one.
Another way the Dutch have tried to improve safety for cyclists is through priorities and how blame is apportioned. If there is an accident with a car and a bike the fault lies with the car. Regardless of what happened. So drivers are a lot more aware of what’s going on round them.
And at roundabouts, at least the ones by us anyway, the cars joining the roundabout give way to pedestrians, then bikes, then the other cars on the roundabout, and then bikes and pedestrians on their way off the roundabout. Which means that cars drive round roundabouts much slower than in the U.K. And it’s quite fun on a bike to cycle round without needing to stop however heavy the traffic is.