Tuesday, February 15, 2011

No excuse for poor trail infrastructure

Why can the Netherlands support such an incredible biking infrastructure and we (US, UK, Canada, etc. ) can't?

In the latest blog post from David Hembrow (A view from the cycle path: All those myths and excuses...), he doesn't necessarily answer that question, but he makes the point that it's time to stop making excuses and start doing something about it.

David approaches this problem from a unique perspective. He's originally from the UK but now lives in the Netherlands. It is nice to get his perspective since he's lived there long enough to know what he's talking about, but has also experienced what it's like elsewhere.

So he knows what he's talking about when he suggests ways to improve cycling outside the Netherlands. And the first step he appears to advocate is to stop making the following excuses as to why (WAY) more people bike in the Netherlands than in (for instance) the U.K., USA, Canada, etc.:
We've got the whole world, in our hands.
  • Our streets are too narrow.

  • Providing for cyclists is too expensive.

  • Our population is too spread out.

  • We have hills.

  • Our distances are too great.

  • It took decades in the Netherlands.

  • It’s because of the price of gas.

  • It’s the weather.

  • Cycle-paths are slow.

  • As long as I'm going to be an excuse-maker, I added another one: Our politicians are unsupportive of trails and alternative, human-powered transportation.

    Of course, my addition of one more excuse did absolutely nothing to help solve the problem other than to prove David correct. We need to stop talking and start acting. So I'll go one step further and suggest some actions you can take to remedy the problem:
    • Be a visible and active bike commuter.
    • Volunteer to help build trails.
    • Write to your elected officials and ask for more funding for trails and alternative transportation.
    • Join American Trails and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
    • Start a blog and/or Twitter account to advocate for human-powered transportation and the infrastructure to support it.
    • Write letters to the editor in support of trails and our (lacking) trails network.
    • Stop making excuses and start making a difference.
    Thanks to David Hembrow for doing something other than making excuses. Thanks to Rob, at the Recumbent Blog, for reminding me, once again, to look at "A view from the cycle path."


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