25 January 2016

Going Dutch In The Snow

Yesterday, for the first time in years, I didn't anyone riding on the streets.  Today there were a few people pedaling; I think they were all making deliveries.  

The cold, snow and wind were enough to keep most people off their bikes.  However, I think that fear was also another factor in keeping cyclists off the road.  

Even under optimal conditions, cyclists (at least here in the US) are seen as "crazy".  Of course, someone who imputes insanity to others is portraying him- or her-self as sane or right and, by implication, entitled.  Thus many motorists see themselves as the rightful owners, if you will, of the streets and roads.  They expect cyclists to defer to them or simply to get off the road altogether, ostensibly for their own safety but actually to, as a British neighbor of mine says, to "keep up that All American idea that everything should facilitate the movement of automobiles".

Now, I know that there isn't much of a comparison between my hometown of New York and a city like Utrecht in the Netherlands.  Still, I think the following video of cyclists commuting in the snow in the ancient Dutch capital can offer some lessons to American urban planners:

No comments:

Post a Comment