It's a bus, pedaled by eight children aged 4 to 12 and one adult, designed to get to school or go on a trip together. Top speed 15 kph, sound system, electric drive for the hills, and a canvas awning for rainy days. Yea, Holland! Built by Thomas Tolkamp, who has sold 25 of the bus-bikes so far, though none outside Europe. Cost $15,000. This shows what's possible when you've got a safe network of off-road bike lanes.
Cycling in Holland
In Holland, 40% of primary school and 75% of secondary school kids bike to school, some as far as 20 km each way, because their parents know it’s safe. In Assen, 41% of all journeys are by bike – in Groningen, it’s 60% of all trips. Groningen’s main railway station has bike parking for – get this – ten thousand bicycles. Back in 1964, Groningen was a normal car-dominated city. In 1972, a new local council changed the planning emphasis, making the city centre the ‘living room’, and integrating town planning with transport policy. Today, 40 years later, 78% of the residents and 90% of employees live within 3km of the city centre.
The average speed for cycling is 14.2 kph, while for cars it is 9.6 kph.
For every Euro invested in cycling, they get better health, less congestion, fewer serious accidents and an improved economy. In Greater Victoria, only 6% of commuters bike to work, but we should be planning for 50%. To learn more about Dutch cycling first hand, you can join a Cycling Study Tour on May 8th to 10th. Including B&B, it costs 425 Euros. See www.hembrowcyclingholidays.com.
You can read regular issues of Guy Dauncey'e EcoNews at http://www.earthfuture.com/econews/