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Within her piece Yilan discusses the success story that is Amsterdam’s world-renowned cycle network and exactly what the city planners have developed and created within legislation and policy to achieve such a well working functional system. However, having been to Amsterdam a number of times now, the first being with my undergraduate urban planning course, it is clear that this system has come in to effect by something more than just regulations and infrastructure.

To compare the system to that of the UK, yes, the infrastructure is there to allow for a much better cycle experience, but I believe a lot of their success and our downfall is in the attitude in which the people of Amsterdam take to their cyclists. Being known globally for this system it is evident that the people of the Netherlands are very proud of it. I even remember speaking to a Dutch person regarding the matter and them explaining that wherever you go cyclist will always be given priority regardless of the infrastructure or system in place.

Compare that to that of the UK and although we don’t have anywhere near as well a defined system as that of the Dutch, our attitudes towards cyclist for many years has been relatively negative in predominantly car-based areas. The improvements we have seen for cycle infrastructure in recent years has been positive, but I believe there’s much more of a deep lying issue in people’s perception of cyclists that would need to be tackled before we can achieve anything like that of the Amsterdam system.

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School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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