How did the Dutch get good bike paths?

Carlton Reid
How did the Dutch get good bike paths?

Mark Wagenbuur of 's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands makes cycling-in-the-Netherlands videos. Some of them go viral. This one looks like it's going to be wildly popular.

Using then and now footage, he argues that the Netherlands wasn't always so bike-friendly. That so many people cycle in the Netherlands is also due to political decisions to reign back the car.

The video will be used by cycle campaigners to show that even the most congested, car-choked cities can be redesigned for people on foot and who travel by bike.

“The Netherlands’ problems were and are not unique, their solutions shouldn’t be that either," said Wagenbuur.

Article continues below

Advertisement

>
The video ought to be watched in tandem with this film about strict liability, the precept that says the operator of the larger vehicle is to blame for smashes unless this can be proved otherwise. So, an HGV which smashes into a car is automatically at fault; a car which smashes into a cyclist is automatically at fault; and a cyclist who smashes into a pedestrian is automatically at fault. It's important to stress this is for insurance purposes, not for criminal prosecution purposes.

In the video, Hans Voerknecht, international coordinator for Fiets Beraad ('Bicycle Council'), explains how strict liability works in the Netherlands. For instance, it doesn't mean 'terrorist cyclists' smashing into static cars for compensation payments: motorists are not liable in these (fictional) cases. But, when moving, motorists have a duty of care not to hit vulnerable road users.

The UK is only one of four Western European countries that doesn't have 'strict liability' to protect cyclists and pedestrians.
Strict liability entitles a crash victim to compensation unless the driver can prove the cyclist or pedestrian was at fault.

Tags: netherlands

Follow us on

  • RSS