On your bike: leave the car for short journeys, ministers say
The Dutch government on Monday launched a campaign to encourage people to ditch their cars and cycle short distances instead, by pointing out the benefits to keeping fit while helping the environment.
Junior infrastructure minister Vivianne Heijnen kick started the project in Maastricht on Monday, saying that cycling is good as a source of exercise and for getting a breath of fresh air and a clear head – while benefiting the environment.
Although 25% of all trips from A to B take place by bike in the Netherlands, half of the journeys by car are less than 7.5 kilometres and one third are less than five, according to government figures.
However, government research indicates seven in 10 people are willing to give up their cars for shorter journeys and that focused communications about the health, environmental and financial benefits of cycling can help them to do this.
The campaign target is to boost the distance travelled by bike 20% by 2027 when compared with 2017 and to get 100,000 more people cycling to work by 2025.
To facilitate this, the government is investing €800 million in developing new cycle routes, improving road safety for cyclists and boosting facilities at stations.
Last year 737 people were killed in accidents on Dutch roads, the highest figure since 2008, according to figures from national statistics office CBS. In particular, more elderly cyclists were killed – they accounted for 150 of the 291 cyclists who died – and their number is going up every year, the CBS said.
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