The coronavirus crisis could boost the export of Dutch cycling infrastructure expertise and products as countries are turning to the bicycle for a safer means of transport, RTL Nieuws reports.
‘Coronavirus is accelerating the cycling infrastructure projects of many cities,’ says Lucas Harms, who heads the Dutch Cycling Embassy, a network of Dutch companies specialising in products like bike parks and other bike-related infrastructure.
As coronavirus is turning people away from using public transport, the local authorities in Brussels have been turning car lanes into bike lanes over the last few days, as has Paris, RTL said. And in Milan, plans have been presented to limit space for cars in favour of bikes.
‘We don’t yet know if this is a temporary thing. People may be just panicking and improvising but the good thing is that a seed is planted,’ said Harms, whose Cycling Embassy has advised hundreds of local authorities around the world on emulating Dutch cycling infrastructure.
To build an infrastructure for cycling involves expertise in many areas, Harms said. ‘You need traffic experts, marketing people to create awareness, and policy advisors. We have a lot of companies with specialised knowledge, just think of the multi-storey bike parks, like the one at Amsterdam’s main railway station. We are used to them but in other countries they are far from usual.’
It is not known how much the export of cycle expertise and products is currently worth but, Harms said, the 60 partners of his network are all involved in projects abroad.
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