I’m feeling suicidal: “No helmets, no problem: how the Dutch created a casual biking culture.”

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It’s genuinely hard to read articles like this. All that intelligence and common sense, and then I look outside, and … you have the nerve to ask me why I drink.

No helmets, no problem: how the Dutch created a casual biking culture, by David Roberts (Vox)

A chat with the authors of a new book on cycling in the Netherlands.

There’s so much to quote, so might as well snip to the conclusion.

David Roberts
Some US cities have had to deal with an anti-bike lobby. Does that kind of sentiment or political force even exist at all in the Netherlands any more? Is there anyone pushing back?

Chris Bruntlett
Not that I’m aware. We had conversations with politicians there and they made it perfectly clear: Even the right-wing in the Netherlands has to support more spending on cycling.

David Roberts
Because of public pressure, public opinion?

Chris Bruntlett
Exactly. It’s not a tenable or realistic position to win an election when probably 80 percent of the population cycles at least once a week.

That’s not to say they aren’t also undermining the cause by building car parking and the like.

David Roberts
So, pro-bike is settled, but anti-car maybe is not?

Chris Bruntlett
The Dutch still love their cars. They drive miles and miles, as much as neighboring countries. They’re having the same conversations as we are around the allocation of space, because they built all this space for cycling and it started to fill up. Now they’re trying to push for more space for cycling, and the exact same argument is being made, around loss of parking, loss of vehicle lanes. Here, we’re just arguing for any space.

David Roberts
So it never ends? Every bit you take away from cars is a battle, forever?

Chris Bruntlett
Exactly.

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