Dutch City Hailed as Most Bike-Friendly

Groningen is a model for bike cities worldwide

Groningen Netherlands bicycle commuters europe

A bicycle commuter rides past a bike parking station in Groningen, Netherlands. This Dutch city is a model for making cities more bike-friendly all over the world.     Photo: Fietsberaad/Flickr

Would you go furniture shopping on a bike? Citizens of Groningen, Netherlands, visit IKEA with special cargo bikes, which is just one of the reason this Dutch town is of the world’s most bicycle-friendly cities, according to The Atlantic. The city has 190,000 inhabitants, 75,000 cars and around 300,000 bicycles.

The city has become a model for effective bicycle infrastructure due to the compact street plan enacted in the 1970s. Gorningen’s center is divided into quadrants, and the city government stipulates that citizens could not drive via car directly from one section to another. However, this law didn't apply to bicyclists.

"This is not really an anti-car measure," David Hembrow, who blogs about Dutch bike culture, told The Atlantic. "What this is, is making the neighborhoods where people live more pleasant, and making cycling into a viable option."

Today, half of all trips in Groningen are made via bicycle, nearly doubling the bicycle commuter rate of the top bike friendly cities in the U.S. In Davis, California, a little less than a quarter of residents commute via bicycle, according to the League of American Bicyclists.

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