Create gears up for more people on bike | News report

News feature | 19-07-2022 | 07:00

Healthy, cheap and clean. The government wants to make better use of the social benefits that the bicycle provides. More bikes at work; a bicycle plan for children in poor families; and investments in good parking facilities at stations and new residential areas. These are the spearheads of the new bicycle policy that State Secretary Heijnen is sending to the Folketing today. It also sends new research showing that cycling is good for our economy and employment.

Heijnen: “The bicycle helps us to move forward, literally and figuratively. Fortunately, we find this quite normally in the Netherlands, but it does not happen automatically. That is why, together with employers and other governments, I want to make cycling attractive to more people in the years to come. For our accessibility, health and clean air. ”

Bike to work

Heijnen wants 100,000 extra people to cycle to work over the next 2.5 years. Cycling saves traffic on the road and in public transport during rush hour. In addition, cyclists on average report sick less often. Despite more work from home, it is expected that the crowd during rush hour will increase in the coming years. Under the coalition agreement, Heijnen has made 50 million euros available for further improvement of bicycle sheds at the stations, making it more attractive to cycle part of the journey to and from work. It also explicitly seeks cooperation with employers.

Heijnen also wants to contribute to building a nationwide network of cycle routes, which provinces and municipalities are already fully committed to. On these routes you can cycle quickly and safely on longer distances, eg between two cities, eg to work or school. It structurally earns 6 million euros a year for this.

Cycling and housing

When building new residential areas, the cabinet wants to consistently look at the opportunities that the bicycle offers. The housing shortage is great. Good accessibility to houses is very important for a comfortable stay. Heijnen therefore meets with the regions twice a year to see where the bicycle can help ensure that houses are accessible, in addition to public transport and the car. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management will in the coming years have 7.5 billion euros available to make houses accessible. These are often plans from municipalities and provinces, where the possibilities for car, public transport and bicycle are used together. In the first round, Heijnen and Harbers will jointly allocate a total of 370 million euros to infrastructure projects with a role for the bicycle. These are 21 projects, spread across the country. This includes the construction of cycle routes, cycle tunnels and cycle bridges. It is also expected that in subsequent rounds there will be money from this pool for the construction of bicycle infrastructure.

Fietsersbond director Esther van Garderen welcomes the government’s financial contribution. “Good infrastructure is a very important prerequisite for getting people on the bike and giving them the opportunity to ride safely. Municipalities and provinces already have good plans for this, and this support from the ministry ensures that these plans can now be implemented. Good news . “

Cycling as a weapon against transport poverty

In the Netherlands, more than 200,000 minor children live in a family that has to make ends meet on social assistance. In these families, there is not always money for a bicycle. While cycling is not only healthy but also offers children and parents freedom and independence. Heijnen therefore wants more children who are not able to do so now to use a bicycle. The ministry is currently investigating what is needed and what is possible. An action plan will be drawn up soon.

Holland’s cycling country, also in our wallet

The bicycle provides many social benefits, and also means tailwinds for our economy. New research shows that the manufacture, sale and rental of bicycles provide our country with 13,000 full-time jobs in 3,350 companies. In 2020, Dutch companies sold 1.2 million bicycles, of which more than one million were sold abroad. The sector’s total export value was almost two billion. We make more and more money abroad, between 2015 and 2020 the export value increased by 70%.

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