Over at Amsterdamize.com there is a wonderful piece about the way the Dutch use bicycles and the fact that there is nothing overly special about the Dutch per se that has made this possible. They’ve adopted an exceptionally efficient way to get around and made it the norm rather than the exception.
A few samples: 27% of all movements in the Netherlands are by bicycle. 80% of all Dutch cycle at least once a week. The average age for a child to cycle to school (or otherwise) independently is 8 years (which has the Dutch worried, as that used to be 6 years). On average, the Dutch make 14 million cycle trips a day, each covering 3,5 km on average. Per year, the Dutch travel well over 200 billion km by bike and the average distance pedaled per person is still rising. During rush hour, there are more people going from a to b (for all purposes) by bicycle than by car. Since 2007 the number of bike trips in Amsterdam is greater than the number of car trips. Amsterdam has a bike modal share of
over 50%60% in the downtown area, 38% in the greater city. The city of Groningen (the actual Cycle Capital of the Netherlands) has a modal split of over 60%. 40% of Dutch train commuters get to the station by bicycle. Train stations have a total of 200.000 bike parking racks. This is far from enough, as current and rising demand (over 10% each year) actually require a minimum of 400.000 racks.
3.5 km is something close to my market trips and my trips to the Train station. But that number concerning bicycle trips outstripping car trips per annum is the one that really knocks my socks off. I’m not suggesting that everybody should ride bicycles all the time. I’m suggesting that people who find themselves living in the core of an urban area like Toronto could be doing so much more without resort to a car. Even a 10 percent increase in modal share would be a fantastic increase over the next 5 years.
Anyhow – all this is naturally – grist for the mill. Or chain for the crank 🙂