Amsterdam’s bike paths were not built overnight



Anyone saying a city is not like Amsterdam and implying that it can’t possibly have bike paths like a Dutch city has no clue what Amsterdam fought for and went through to get the world-class cycling infrastructure it has today. When I saw the bike lanes in London where people could get run over if they didn’t have eyes all around their heads, I was reminded of what we often take for granted in Amsterdam, despite it not always being that stress-free to get around, especially in the city centre.

In Brussels you need to wear a high visibility vest and expect cyclists in both directions. In London and Paris, cycling is mostly done on the street and you need to take up your rightful space, which discourages many people from cycling. I’ve cycled in Munich and it was OK if you’re not travelling large distances. Although it may have changed, cycling in Barcelona was done on the sidewalk, which meant unwillingly terrorising pedestrians. Most of my experience comes from cycling in MontrĂ©al, which consistently makes the list of the world’s most bicycle friendly cities, but then I biked before the advent of bike paths and got hit by cars a few times.

The point is, all those amazing bike paths didn’t appear overnight, as many of these before and after pictures show.

The argument of ‘but there’s no hills’ is true, but then there’s wind and rain so bad that we get weather warnings with trees falling and people going to hospital. There’s scooters speeding by hitting cyclists, wobbly tourists who don’t look where they’re going and irresponsible parents with kids cycling while on the phone, endangering everyone around them. However, we can get around everywhere without a cycling map by following proper road signs, and in many places we cycle separately from cars.

Bike parking is still a problem, but then there’s cities like Utrecht who will show the Netherlands how it’s done.

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