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Bikeboom: "All Change to Bikes, 1975"

Link to web site

"Why hasn’t the UK got Dutch-style cycle networks in every town, city and village? Partly it's down to culture: the Netherlands has had 100+ years of bicycle-based national identification. This is so strong that the Dutch bike – the omafiets, or granny bike, a Dutch national icon – is deemed to be peculiar to the Netherlands when, in fact, it’s English. Because the bicycle was adopted as a symbol of Dutch national identity from about 1910 it was far easier for politicians and planners to pay for and design bicycle path networks when, in the 1970s, there was a groundswell of support to rein back the car, which was starting to clutter up Dutch cities.

"The current call from many British cycle campaigners to 'Go Dutch' echoes similar calls from cycle campaigners in the 1970s.

" The oil crisis of 1973 sent shockwaves around the world. Use of cars dropped; use of bicycles rose. There was a boom in bike sales in the early 1970s – from a low point of selling just 164,000 adult bicycles at the end of the 1960s the market jumped to 600,000 sales a year by the mid-1970s.

"In the Netherlands, recognition that reliance on Middle Eastern oil was not sustainable resulted in a metric ton of cycleways to make an already bike-mad nation into an even bikier one. In the UK there was the same desire for change, the same desire to seize the moment and rein back the car. As we all know, not a lot changed."

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