In the coming years, public authorities, community organisations and private companies will work together to find better ways of exploiting the possibilities of cycling. The campaign will focus on better facilities in the inner cities, the role of the bike in pre- and post transportation, regional routes, health matters and the use of new technology. The Netherlands have the highest level of bike traffic in the world. More than a quarter of all displacements is by bicycle. The bicycle has saved the Netherlands from the most severe form of traffic congestion and has contributed to good living conditions in the inner cities. Bicycles are also important for the vitality of rural areas, especially in areas where public transport is limited.
To maintain that role in the future, more has to be done. That was the reason for the 2015 – 2020 Bicycle Agenda. A ‘Tour de Force’, starting on 6 July, after the Tour de France departed from the Netherlands.
Fittingly, the Tour is managed by representatives from all layers of government. Public commitment is needed to realise the ambitions. This Tour management will mobilise teams in several different areas, involving not only public authorities, but also private companies, social and cultural organisations as well as technical institutions.
The Tour management will address very specific and topical subjects, such as speed differences and bike path congestion, single bike crashes, bike parking facilities at or near railway stations and regulations regarding the speed pedelec, etc.
With the Tour de Force, Dutch authorities aim to promote ‘bicycle power’ in support of five specific ambitions:
Vigorous citizens: promoting participation, health and mobility for everyone. More exercise, fewer traffic injuries;
Vigorous cities: making them more attractive for living and working. Offering better quality public space, better accessibility with fewer drawbacks;
Vigorous urban areas: creating a sustainable connection between life, work and recreation;
Vigorous rural areas: counteracting the decline and ageing of these areas, maintaining their accessibility, reinforcing the rural economy in spite of the reduction in public transport;
Vigorous Netherlands: improving national accessibility, increasing tourism and optimising exports by creating “First and Last Mile” facilities for long haulage, attracting more foreign tourists and improving the national image, exporting more bicycle products and services.
The use of the bicycle is widespread in the Netherlands and there is no lack of initiatives to stimulate the use further. The Tour de Force aims to support these initiatives by creating favourable preconditions, for instance by using policy tools like:
Improvements to legislation, regulations and legal powers;
New information, data, arguments and skill;
New forms of organisation;
New forms of financing;
Stimulating technological innovation.