Despite Amsterdam’s claim that it’s the bike capital of Europe, there’s another Dutch city that has it beat. In the northern city of Groningen, the Netherlands’ sixth-largest city, 57 percent of all journeys are made by bike (versus Amsterdam, which holds its own at 40 percent of all journeys).
Groningen has long held a reputation for its bike-friendly ways. In 2006, it was named the world’s best cycling city by Bicycling magazine. Cyclists ride on demarcated bike paths along the roadside and take precedence over drivers. To encourage more bike and pedestrian travel, the city is divided into four different sectors; if drivers want to cross from one to another sector, they cannot simply drive there. Instead, they’re required to drive around the entire city until they arrive at the sector’s entry point. This requirement may sound both superfluous and silly, but it helps keep car traffic to a minimum. Bikes, of course, are free to travel throughout the sectors as they wish.
Groningen boasts 3000 bike parking spots at its rail station and a former nuclear bomb shelter beneath its city hall has been converted into a bike garage.
Source: The Age
Photo via flickr by evert-jan van.