Cycling in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the most bicycle-friendly capital city in the world. In Amsterdam, over 60% of trips are made by bike in the inner city and 40% of trips are made by bike overall in the greater city area.
Although to people outside of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is considered one of most famous and important centres of bicycle culture worldwide, the city itself is actually not at the top in terms of bike-friendliness compared to other, smaller Dutch cities. For instance, Amsterdam is not on the short-list for the Fietsstad 2014 (BikeCity 2014) awards, announced by the Dutch Fietsersbond (Cyclists' Union). The cities of The Hague, Eindhoven and Almere are on this list for 2014 while the Netherlands' most bicycle-friendly city of Groningen won the award back in 2001. For bicycle-friendliness, one must consider the Netherlands as whole.
As is common in Dutch cities, Amsterdam has a wide net of traffic-calmed streets and world-class facilities for cyclists. All around are bike paths and bike racks, and several guarded bicycle parking stations (Fietsenstalling) which can be used for a nominal fee. In 2006, there were about 1,000,000 bicycles in Amsterdam.
Bicycles are used by all socio-economic groups because of they are quick from A to B, their convenience, Amsterdam's small size, the 400 km of bike paths, the flat terrain, and the arguable inconvenience of driving an automobile: driving a car is discouraged, parking fees are expensive, and many streets are closed to cars or are one-way. Amsterdam's bike paths (Fietspad) are coloured brown, in order to differentiate it from a footpath.
Amsterdammers ride a wide variety of bicycles including the traditional Omafiets - the ubiquitous Dutch roadster with a step-through frame - to anything from modern city bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, and even recumbent bikes.
Many tourists discover Amsterdam by bike, as it is the typical Dutch way to get around the city. Bicycle tour groups offers a guided bike tour through the city. Bicycle traffic, in fact traffic in general, is relatively safe: in 2007, Amsterdam had 18 traffic deaths, of all types, in total.
By 2012, cycling in Amsterdam had grown tremendously in popularity — up by some 40% in the previous twenty years. The city had 490,000 fietsers (cyclists) take to the road to cycle 2 million kilometres every day according to statistics of the city council. This has caused some problems as, despite 35,000 kilometers of bicycle paths, the country's 18 million bicycles (1.3 per citizen old enough to ride) were clogging Amsterdam's streets at peak times and parked bicycles were overcrowding train stations and other areas. This is being addressed by building even more bike lanes and bicycle parking stations with much greater capacity to tackle a problem many other cities in the world would envy, that of bicycle traffic congestion.
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