The Netherlands shares cycling policy with US and Canada

The Netherlands is a country of cyclists: there are more bicycles than people, and 40% of the population use a bike every day. Cycling cuts down on motorised traffic and pollution, and leads to a fitter population. That’s why a strong policy on cycling is integral to Dutch sustainability policy. This has caught the eye of many US cities, and in response, the Dutch embassies and consulates in the US have set up a cycling initiative called ThinkBike workshops.

The workshops’ goal is to use Dutch expertise on cycling policy to boost cycling in North American cities. The ThinkBike workshops bring together Dutch bike experts, local politicians, planners, advocates, engineers and business people to plan and discuss how North American cities can become more bike-friendly.

Teams survey the cities by bike and discuss how streets, intersections and whole neighbourhoods can be improved for optimum bike-ability. Some of the issues addressed are bicycle safety, bike commuting, and bikes and public transport.

The first ThinkBike workshops took place in Toronto, Chicago and Washington, DC. There will be a workshop in Miami later this year, and others will follow in 2011. The Netherlands sees this initiative as an outstanding opportunity to develop sustainability policy, raise the profile of Dutch cycling policy and further strengthen the excellent relationship between the US, Canada and the Netherlands.