For most English cyclists, cycling is a life style. For most Dutch cyclists, it is a purely functional way of getting around. His conclusion is based on surveys and interviews in Leeuwarden and Chester.
Quality of infrastructure and safety are not at issue in the Netherlands: they are regarded as adequate. These aspects may discourage people from using a bike; they will not in themselves be enough to get people to take up cycling.
The situation is different in England. Infrastructure and safety are important issues in the promotion of cycling. Another conclusion drawn by Lenting for both the English and Dutch situation is the need to convince people that cycling may be an option, even if it is currently not the right option. “As soon as bicycles enter into the equation, you have made progress”.
And if you want to get more people to take up cycling, they need to realise that cycling is not just something for fanatics. Cycling – especially in England – has to be seen as a useful mode of transportation, which does not necessarily imply a totally different life style.
On the other hand, the Dutch situation will gain if cycling to work over longer distances could come to be seen as a sporting activity. Looking at cycling as physical exercise instead of slow transportation makes it more attractive to cycle longer distances, as these require more exercise. It would also help if specific target groups can be made aware of the positive health effects of cycling as a mode of transportation.