A View From the Cycle Path: Dutch Made Streets Safer for Bicyclists

A View From the Cycle Path: Dutch Made Streets Safer for Bicyclists
Who do we campaign for ?

Three years ago, I posed the rhetorical question "Do the British love their children too?" This week, I received an answer in the form of a note which said "For my children in Bristol. Thank you for your work."

In the 1970s, the Dutch reacted to increased danger on the streets by calling for change to make their children safer while preserving their ability to make independent journeys.

In other nations, children have in large part been removed from the streets. They no longer make journeys in an independent manner. For instance, in Britain, newspapers report such things as that a teenage boy can't make a journey of 11 km on his own while in the Netherlands this sort of distance, and much longer distances, are quite routinely ridden by many teenagers every day to get to school, even in winter.

A peloton of teenagers heading home
after school.
A retrospective glance shows that the Dutch did something extraordinary in the 1970s. With mass support, the future of the country was changed. If this had not happened then the Netherlands could be a very different place now.

This was pure luck. The Dutch care for their children, of course, but they do not care for them any more than parents in other nations do. What happened in the Netherlands was that the right people supported the right campaign at the right time. With the right support for the right…
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