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Benefits of cycling
How Amsterdam Became a Bicycle Paradise

How Amsterdam Became a Bicycle Paradise


The Netherlands is known as a cyclists paradise. Its safety levels, one of the best in the
world, are in staggering contrast with the US, where you’re around 20 times more likely to be injured while riding a bike. In the Dutch capital nearly half the working
population commutes daily on over 500 km of dedicated
cycle paths. But the city only narrowly avoided being taken over by cars. Here’s how Amsterdam put the brakes on cars to give bikes a chance. Following the Second World War, the mobility and affordability of cars started changing people’s lives. Neighbourhoods around the world were being
flattened to make way for busy highways. “Chicago is moving a city” “New York striving to keep abreast of the ceaseless teeming traffic” Amsterdam wasn’t going to be left behind. Streets, once considered public space in the Netherlands, were changing. Their new function was purely for traffic. The number of bikes in Amsterdam plummeted. Between 1960 and 1970 the number of cars in
the country quadrupled, jamming the traditionally narrow streets. Engineers and city planners wanted to modernise Amsterdam to make it more car-friendly. They proposed ideas like; filling in the famous
canals with concrete, levelling historic neighbourhoods, and building
expressways and monorails. This is what Amsterdam would have looked like
in 2000 if the Das brothers had realised their futuristic vision. Unsurprisingly, there was opposition. Anarchist group Provo came up with the world’s
first bike and car sharing schemes. They didn’t take off at the time, but the
sentiment to keep Amsterdam light on cars was shared. Dutch road fatalities peaked in 1972. In response, protest groups like Stop De Kindermoord,
or “Stop Murdering Children” were organising blockades of areas with high
accident rates to make their point. Then, in 1973,  the oil crisis sent fuel
prices skyward, prompting the Dutch government to ban motor vehicles for one day a week. “Reaction here to the Sunday motoring ban
has been mixed. The unions and the hoteliers are angry and
annoyed.” But the sales of bicycles started to rise. Pressure groups jumped at the opportunity
to show citizens how Amsterdam could look without cars. The government took notice and in 1978 introduced
the Traffic Circulation Plan to make Amsterdam less attractive to drivers. It called for the closure of certain streets
to traffic, reduction in car parking spaces and gave priority to cyclists and pedestrians. Amsterdam started embracing ‘Woonerf’
– or ‘living streets’ – a concept that was
already successful in reducing traffic casualties outside of
the capital. The specially designed zones are landscaped
to slow drivers down. Without sidewalks, drivers share the space
with cyclists and pedestrians and have to move at walking pace. Making Amsterdam more bike-friendly was really
about making the city less friendly for cars. Now, almost a quarter of the Dutch population
cycles every day, with 75% of children cycling to secondary
school. The number of cyclists on the road also makes
it safer – research shows a correlation between higher
numbers of bikes and lower casualties among cyclists. If Amsterdam’s story is anything to go by
 – there is not only safety but also power in numbers. Just as important as cycling lanes and car
controls, is getting people on bikes in the first place.

100 comments on “How Amsterdam Became a Bicycle Paradise

  1. It’s very true.. i went with my car two times to Amsterdam, i hated both times.. it’s almost impossible to navigate through and it’s super expensive to park and/or finding a parking place.. they did it very well.. now, when i go to Amsterdam, i go with the train..

  2. Commuting to work is amazing, it’s energizing and no pollution!! I live in DC and many of the streets have now a bike lane. More bikes and less cars would be amazing for the environment! One day I’ll visit the Netherlands , I wanna bike in the Dutch streets!

  3. When i bike home on a sunny summer evening, going under the Rijksmuseum and seeing Museumplein dooming up in front of me, makes me always VERY happy!

  4. seem to remember some time ago there was a YouTube item on cycle parking at the railway station

  5. Moving from the US to Amsterdam, makes you realize that not only it is healthier but you save a BUNCH of money by not having a car.

  6. Its more like a hell now with all the tourists walking on the streets. Im constantly dodging annoying tourists in the city centre 😩

  7. Lol. As a Dutchman, I went biking in NY on a couple occassions. What a horrible, yet hilarious, experience that was. You basically have to maneuver between cars and the little cycleways that are there are almost always blocked. I can see why Americans don’t commute by bike (while it would certainly help battle the amazing gridlock traffic problem NYC has). Bike infrastructure really is the most important facilitating factor here.

  8. How is Amsterdam a bikesparadice? All of the Netherlands is better than the busy streets of Amsterdam.

  9. In the 70s it was a luxury to have a car. Everyone lives near thei work or go by public transport. Woonerf was first implemented (late 60s) in Emmen and introduced by Niek de Boer. it means cars can only go a maximum speed of 15 km/hr.

  10. Fuck bikes I have one but also a acar paying road taxes adhering the traffic laws contrary to bikes they drive through red lights call while they cycle don't pay parking fees fuck bikes and Amsterdam

  11. It happened because the Dutch government was willing to listen to the people. In most countries, money makes the government listen.

  12. I moved to Holland from America years ago and still haven’t bought a car. The bike system is awesome and for long trips you just take your bike on the train!

  13. Doubtless, many positives. I wonder how many studies have shown the billions of loss in revenue due to slow commutes?
    Funny that Bloomberg wouldn't bring up this question…
    Suspicious even.

  14. Блять когда же у нас будет так же охуенно?!!!!
    Заебался лавировать между машинами и пешиками – то блеать бордюра, то тротуар, то дорога!!!! АААААААА бесит!
    >[[[[

  15. Not just Amsterdam – biking is a big thing in the entire country.

    Biking to highschool for 30 minutes? Normal.

  16. "Research show a correlation between higher numbers of bikes and lower casualties among cyclists."

  17. It's a cultural thing. Also the architecture prohibits new roads in Amsterdam.

    Most of the Netherlands is supplied with wonderful roads. Rotterdam is the main port for Europe and has an excellent system of roads linking it to the rest of the EU.

    This is a bit of BS propaganda from the Watermelons.

    The fact that Holland is 'FLAT' … very flat …. means cycling is a very efficient way of getting about.

  18. Wish I lived there, NJ cop just gave me a warning for riding my bike on the sidewalk, yet the streets where I live the cars go 40 mph and going on the road is a death sentence

  19. Biking Really saves Our Mother Nature..We human are always Stupid Polluting & Destroying Our beautiful Natural Weather & This World

  20. First of all. The USA is a much bigger place than this little villages. Places like L.A and NYC are pretty big. Sure you can bike in NYC. But if you live in Queens and work in Manhattan that’s a huge ride. The idea is not to compare and criticize is to learn how to make city’s better for everyone. Not juts the red light running bikes. 😊😊

  21. I regret you don’t report the acountable amount of annoying cargo bikes in Amsterdam, used by young millennial and over-concerned mothers, to bring their 14 years old children to school and stops traffic.
    When we where young, we walked or cycled alone to school.

  22. You spelled breaks wrong. I guess that's what a college education gets you. It's spelled brakes, when referring to a car.

  23. Yeah funny thing is that you're much more likely to get hit by bike than by car. It's nice to have so many people using bike insted of car, but it's useless when behaving to pedestrians same way drivers behave to bikes in other cities

  24. I'm sure that if the Netherlands wasn't so flat then you probably wouldn't have nearly as many people fighting to make it a bike commuting country

  25. The world would be much better off if every city was like Amsterdam.

    Unfortunately the interests of the economy and what is best for people don't always see eye to eye. the big business of automotive and petrol industries desired to fill their own pockets at the expense of the peoples well being.

    Hopefully electric cars will cange things for the better this time but our governments had plenty of opportunity to strike a better balance between petrol motors and public transport and chose to favor the wrong choice for its people.

    Congrats to Amsterdam for keeping their city beautiful and clean and still very efficient.

  26. Bikes are not as fast as cars, so many US cities and their suburbs like Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Phoenix etc. would not be able to accomplish this. Creating bike lanes alongside streets and sidewalks makes much more sense for the US. Driving from my suburb in NYC to Miami, FL takes 18 hours whereas a drive from Groningen (Northern NL) to Eindhoven (Southern NL) takes 2 hours. The US is enormous, a fact that is hard to grasp if you spend your time traveling between small nations in the EU. No wonder biking is mostly a leisure activity here, not a lifestyle.

  27. There's a problem when people talk about implementing this kind of stuff to their cities or countries, and that's territory and population. It will always be easier to have excellent systems when there are fewer components to fix, but try to do it in a city 5 or 6 times bigger like NYC. It's not feasible. We work with what we can.

  28. You should have also mentioned that the city, just like the country is unbelievable flat, which makes cycling easy, this will not work everywhere.

  29. cant wait to see this advancement on the Balkans, probably in about 100 years.
    cant take a Mercedes from a bosnian, no sir, even if the bike was Benz xD

  30. As an American I'm suppose to fear thinking like this. People drive three blocks to eat dinner and return home.

  31. Bicycles in the Netherlands are more of a nuisance for most people. Bicyclists are often rude , dont pay attention to what's going on around them and dont follow the rules creating road hazards to motorists and dangers to pedestrians. Often they cause car accidents but are never at fault as bicycles are considered sacred, like cows are to India. The Dutch infatuation with bicycles is almost on border line insanity, where stubborn bicyclists just think they own the roads. The worst are the A social whielrenners and their platoons of madmen in tights who think they are all in the tour of France, but speed through bike paths threatening slower older people and children on bikes, people walking their dogs and tying up traffic on roads where even if there is a bike path, these morons still use roads, pissing off all motorists. They are supposed to have a light and bell on their bikes like the rest , but choose instead to yell at people to get out of their way. I guess the Dutch government didn't tell them the Dutch roads are not a race circuit.

    Bikes might be great for the big cities and a cheap form of transportation if you only live 15 minutes from your work or school, but for the rest of us, bikes are nothing more than an excuse for people to prove their stupidity!

  32. It's high time bicyclists in the Netherlands start paying for the roads they use, just like all the motorists do in the form of road tax. Pay speeding fines for riding too fast and pay for licenses and insurance and must wear protective clothing and a helmet. The Dutch police do stop the non racers for no lights or bells and often ticket them, but for some reason the racers appear to be exempt from the same rules.

  33. Amsterdam – another city being ruined by tourists. If you are going to visit, make sure you go to other cities too, or even stay in one of those cities. The Netherlands has sooo many beautiful, cultural, fun cities, don't limit yourself to Amsterdam, please.

  34. I love my bike but I don't want the government forcing me to ride it. It's safer for bikes because half of the roads do not allow cars and obviously they have bike lanes where the US is extremely lacking

  35. Where an american pays just $20K a dutch would pay €34-39K for the exact same car. Thats nearly double. Thats why dutch all ride bikes.

  36. The big think is that in the Netherlands, bicylces are just a mode of transport, like walking or taking a car or train or airplane.
    It's not primarily a sport or way of exercise.
    This means nearly everyone bikes, especially children up to the age of 18, as it's the only way for a teenager to get around without help from parents besides walking.
    This makes everyone a biker, even when driving a car, just like all humans are pedestrians. Owning a bicycle is like having two legs as far as the Dutch are concerned.

  37. "How Amsterdam became a bicycle paradise"? It's FLAT. (By the way, it's even more of a bicycle THIEF paradise).

  38. Practically nothing is on point in this video, but that's usually the case when foreigners try to explain my country.

  39. Fun fact: at 1:57 when you read the counter it says "bedrag", bedrag means "scam" in Norwegian..
    Cars = scam.
    I still can't fathom how anyone thinks the car as a positive.

  40. I live in the State of Maryland (USA) where a Republican Governor with a 20th century outlook on life vetoed a Bikeway bill which would have increased funding of bicycle infrastructure within the state. In my tiny state, the ruling establishment is the problem – but unlike the Dutch, no one in Maryland seems willing to protest and make things better.

  41. I hope one day, Jakarta Indonesia like that. No more cars, motorcycle, no polution, just people walk and cycling. That's can be healthy city with happiness people inside. Like sim city 😅

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