Wednesday, November 19, 2014

THE JOY OF BICYCLE RIDING IN NETHERLANDS


                                                                               
                           ( Bicycles Parked over on canal Bridge in Amsterdam , Netherlands ) 
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                                             ( Bicycle Riders near Vondel Park Amsterdam )
                                                   ( A Bicycle Path in Amsterdam , Netherlands )

                                                                       
BICYCLE  AND  NETHERLANDS

 Bicycle is a major mode of Transport in  Netherlands ( Holland ). It is  surprising  to see   almost 40  percent  of the road traffic  in Amsterdam  comprising of Bicycle users .  This could be  even higher in rural areas .These Bicycles  move on separate Paths  with protected Intersections . They have adequate parking facilities . The bicycle routes to  reach your destinations are shorter and direct. Almost every city and town  in Netherlands   is interconnected  through a National Network of well laid down  Bicycle Paths . These paths  are created and maintained by  Dutch  Government  as  a National Policy Task to promote Bicycle usage amongst people .

I am informed that the Dutch  Government prioritized this  mode of transport  long back , Possibly sometime around last quarter of 19th century. This mode got more acceptance in public after widespread protests broke out in Netherlands  over the  spurt in  Motor accidents during 1970 to  1975 . During these years , on an average about 500 young men and children  died  annually  due to  road accidents . The Government immediately swung into action and came out with a  comprehensive Bicycle friendly policy for the  . This policy  meant quantitative Fund allocations for Development of  Separate Paths , Roads , Intersections , Parking facilities , Accidental Insurance support  and  establishing Network of Traffic signals .

 With Bicycle ,  Roads in Netherlands have become almost  pollution Noise free. The accidental deaths have come down drastically .

As a part of its National policy to promote Bicycle usage ,Children  in Netherlands , after a certain age group, need to learn cycling . They are supposed to use this mode of transport for going to their school  later which could be as far as 8  to 10 kms . Elderly people  are trained to use  the electric Bicycle . Trains and Ferries can not refuse to carry your bicycle should you need to do so to cover longer distances. This is  as a matter of state  policy  which has due legal sanction.  Bicycle lanes are  painted red or black and  no mopeds are allowed  to be driven along these paths . One can see some cyclists   moving at a speed of about 20kms per hour on these paths .

 Almost every shop / Store   in Amsterdam  provides   Bicycle Parking facility to its customers   .  If you do not park your Bicycle properly , you may be fined  by law enforcing agencies . Every railway station , school , college , University , Hospital , Supermarket has  a Proper Bicycle   Stand. 

You find  students , Doctors , University  teachers ,ladies , Businessmen , Government employees and tourist using bicycle to cover distances . The government  also gives  annual  awards   to the  city / Town with best Bicycling paths and facilities  .

 Did we forget and   this cheap and pollution free   mode of transport in our country  ? The Bicycle that remained a part of our childhood and youth  is  facing neglect at the moment. 

Can we  Learn  a Lesson from the Netherlands  experience ? 

I conclude this post with a couplet of urdu Poet Naseer Turabi …

Kabhi  ye haal ki donon me  yukk- dili thhi bahut
Kabhi  ye marhalaa   jaisay  ki  aashnayee na thhi…….
                                          
(   Autar Mota )

(*Photo and  inputs by  Sandeep Mota )
Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

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