|Part of the infrastructure in the Netherlands, a parking lot for bicycles outside Amsterdam Centraal Station.|
Let me first say that I see completely that common sense dictates that in certain situations, more often than not in fact, taking the lane is the key to survival on roads without bicycle lanes. However, that being said I'd still rather cycle on a segregated roadway that provides me with a "protective barrier" than share the lane with a lump of steel on wheels.
I'm not by any means as fit as I'd like to be, so for me maintaining a decent speed on a roadway is difficult at times, especially if you add a passenger, an incline and a head on wind, but I do probably represent a great deal of the population. I'm a parent and someone not in the peak of physical fitness so I could represent the young, elderly or infirm for arguments sake. To me if we want cycling to be a part of the masses daily lives, then what is wrong with building, creating and re-claiming space dedicated solely to that end. I firmly believe that if we build it, they will come and really, that's exactly what the video was saying; the Dutch built it and the people came, they fought for it, they worked for it and they created an amazing legacy that I firmly believe could be replicated throughout the world if the people want it, fight for it, work for it.
|Red paved lanes on a busy street in Amsterdam.|
I'm neither a statistical annalist, nor an expert by any means, I scoured the internet for reliable sources of information, I found this blog to be full of eye opening facts, which included:
Cyclists Injured per 10 million Km (source)
- US 35
- UK 6
- Netherlands 1.4
I also found this blog to be full of interesting information and would encourage you to take a look. One excerpt I must include would be the fact that you are more likely to get murdered in the United States than you are to die on a bicycle in the Netherlands.
Another attributing factor the low death rates associated with the Dutch system is highlighted in the video below, remember too that if young cyclists grow up to be drivers they are more likely to be understand the needs of cyclists. Here about 1/2 the population cycles on a daily basis and yet you are more likely to die of drowning than you are whilst cycling.