Cycling in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is both the most bicycle-friendly capital city in the world and, with an urban area population of over 1.1 million people, it is also the most bicycle-friendly city with over a million people 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.
Nevertheless, though people outside of the Netherlands consider Amsterdam to be one of the 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 many smaller Dutch cities. This is reflected in the fact that 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 were nominated for the Fietsstad 2014 awards, while the Netherlands' most bicycle-friendly city of Groningen won the award back in 2001. It should be made clear that 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 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 for motor vehicle traffic (but not for cyclists). Amsterdam's bike paths (Fietspad) are red in colour, in order to differentiate them from both the road ways and footpaths.
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. Safety is also a concern, mainly on infrastructure that does not yet conform to the modern Dutch road safety policies of Sustainable Safety. Advance stop lines or otherwise little protection at traffic lights on distributor roads is a major cause of collisions, including the death of a 7-year-old girl under a garbage truck in 2013 on a road which did not include protected cycle paths.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bicycles in Amsterdam.|
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