Velo-city 2017: Day 3 Highlights
Cycling in practice, what can we really do? And do the Dutch really set an example? That depends who you ask...
And the negative answer comes surprisingly enough from a Dutchman: cycling professor Marco te Brömmelstroet of the University of Amsterdam. “Forget everything you learned the past few days”, he told the audience. The past decades, the Dutch spent millions in dedicated cycle lanes and safe intersections. And now that other countries start to follow, as for example Brian Deegan of Transport for London showed with the cycling superhighways, Te Brömmelstroet told the audience that Amsterdam was moving on and let go more and more of the rules and regulations. As it appeared, in a lot of cases, cyclists, pedestrians and even motorist, in their own limited way, can adapt to a intuitive swarm.
The Freedom of Cycling
That children in The Netherlands are one of the happiest in the world, was already a topic Monday, but how that works on a day to day basis, Marieke Dubbelman, mother of four and living in the suburbs of Utrecht. She told the audience she loses track of her children from time to time, bus does not worry: she knows the environment is safe for her children. This freedom to explore their own world by bike is essential for their well being, Dubbelman told. In Great-Britain, via the Bikeability programme, children are taught to behave in traffic and feel confident on their bike, so they can freely move around as well, Paul Robison explained. Kristina Jasiunaite from World Bicycle Relief gives freedom of mobility for children in an whole other way. With the Buffalo bike, a bike especially designed for developing countries, children in Sub-Saharan and Eastern Africa gain more freedom. A trip to school or getting water costs less time. The bike can carry up to 100 kilos, is robust and is easily locally repared.
Why We Cycle
Filmmakers Marco te Brömmelstroet, Arne Gielen, Gertjan Hulster and Jeroen Dirks gave an exclusive preview of the film ‘Why We Cycle’ where they interview ordinary cyclists and specialists from various disciplines. They examine the hidden inner motives of the cyclist and explore what the Netherlands would look like if we were to work with the needs of ordinary cyclists in mind. The film was highly appreciated by the audience. In case you missed it: tonight, at Velo Fest there is a second, but for the next months a last chance to see it!
Mass Bike Parade
Off course a Velo-city isn’t complete without a Mass Bike Parade. The streets of Nijmegen were partly occupied by thousands of cyclist (however, as one of the attendees noted: the streets of Nijmegen are every day occupied by thousands of cyclists) who were welcomed by the local citizens. They know how to handle it, since Nijmegen hosts the Vierdaagse every day, one of the worlds biggest walking events. The ride and day ended at Honig Complex, the new cultural and creative hotspot of the city; an old factory with stunning views over the Waal River.