Bicycle Mad Country Netherlands makes way for more bicycle riders | 200000 people to get benefits


The Netherlands seems to be in the news everyday for past few weeks, all for good reasons. Just a few days back, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was applauded by everyone when a video of him mopping the floor of the parliament himself after he spilled coffee on it went viral.

And now their deputy infrastructure minister Stientje van Veldhoven has announced the government’s plan to encourage more people to leave their cars and travel to their workplace on bicycles. The aim, she said, is to make 2,00,000 people use bicycles instead of their four-wheeler. Incentives and a reward system are being developed for those ditching their cars for bicycles.

The Netherlands, with a population of 17 million people of whom 13 million are cyclists and already own 22 million bicycles, is considered a bicycle-mad country. The transport of the country already has special paths for bicycle riders intermingling with their roads and canals and is planning to invest another 100 million euros to improve the infrastructure to accommodate the bicycle riders.

The government is in talks with major employers to reimburse their employees who travel on bicycles from home to work and back with 19 cents (INR 15) per kilometer traveled. Its also looking towards giving subsidies on the purchase of bicycles.

As a major part of the Dutch population live within a 15-kilometer radius of their workplace and with the ease of availability and usability of electric bicycles, the distance to their work and back can be covered quickly, the minister added. The proposed plan, if implemented will not only help clear the congestion on the roads and help those drivers who are forced to drive a car, but it will leave a major impact on the health of the citizens. Another major advantage would be the positive effect it will have on the planet which is already plagued by global warming.