Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How Is It That Amsterdam Has So Many Cyclists And So Few Cycling Fatalities...

Amsterdam is the cycling capital of the world with over eight hundred thousand people owning and riding nine hundred thousand bikes of all shapes and sizes.
Ninety nine percent of the city's cyclists don't wear a helmet and yet the rate of fatalities is incredibly low.
You can almost count the number of cycling related deaths on the fingers of one hand.
And sixteen million Netherlanders own eighteen million bicycles. Nationally, there's around two hundred cycling fatalities annually.
In Britain in 2012, where there's around five million cyclists the deaths caused by accidents with motor vehicles totaled one hundred and twenty two.
Fourteen deaths were recorded in London.
America, it's said, is the most dangerous place on earth to be a cyclist but there are fifty seven million of them, many risking their lives on a daily basis. Six hundred and seventy seven died in 2011, down from 850 in 1995.
But getting back to the question, how does the cycling capital of the world have such a low fatality rate?
Could it be attitude. You know, tolerance and respect for other human beings...

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  1. That could be it. Here in the US . . . I wear a helmet.

  2. I don't know how things are over there, but here in the U.S., there's an arrogance and inconsideration among vehicle drivers and bicyclists both. As a pedesrian one day, I was nearly run down by a cyclist riding illegally on the sidewalk during a group ride to promote consideration among VEHICLE DRIVERS. I wonder who demonstrates for consideration among cyclists?

  3. for one thing the investment in cycling lanes, we stayed in veesp nr Amsterdam for 2 weeks and it was all so easy and safe we never thought of getting in the car. Second is the attitude; bikes have right of way, so if you're cycling the wrong way up a one way street the bike has the right of way, and third bikes are kept off the busy main roads they're for cars.

  4. Or maybe the reason is because there are so damned many bicycles that there is no place to fall down...

    1. That's lateral thinking in action... :)

    2. It's most probably attitude. Here in the UK I have on a couple of occasions been nearly mangled by careless drivers in the past few years. I think to British drivers, cyclists are something to celebrate by adding a notch on the side of your car after you hit them! Mind you some cyclists really do ask for trouble the way they ride.

  5. Many years ago while living in San Francisco I rented a bike for a day to see how I liked it, with a view to buying one as regular transportation. It was terrifying. I dropped that idea without further ado.

  6. I have a bike on order - it's due to arrive later this week! I haven't ridden since I was a teenager and I'm a bit apprehensive about riding as I live in Seattle, but I'm excited too. Helmet will be worn, for sure!

  7. Hi, as a Dutch person myself I would say that attitude is a big part of it. Bicycles have been a main means of transportation here for centuries. Everybody (wich also means every driver) is completely accustomed to being surrounded by bicycles in traffic. Every driver is also a cyclist him- or herself, wich means you take into account both roles. And maybe most important: Being aware of cyclists is a BIG componant in driving lessons!