Leading Cycling Nation Continues to Invest in Biking Infrastructure
THE HAGUE – the Netherlands – After months of negotiating, the new Dutch government agreed to invest 2 billion euros additionally into mobility. Five percent (100 million euro) of that allocated budget is reserved for cycling projects. It reflects that, despite the country being the number one in the world for cycling, it keeps spending money on getting more people on bikes more often. However, it’s said that the 100 million is not enough.
That it’s not enough is said by the Ducth member of the European Cyclists’ Federation, ‘Fietsersbond’.
The new Dutch government agreed to invest additionally 100 million euro into cycle projects over the next 4 years. This is a one-off investment and will be used for bicycle parking facilities at railway stations and for fast cycle routes.
Objective of growing cycle use
While Dutch ECF member Fietsersbond welcomes this investment as a recognition for cycling to be part of the national mobility agenda, it criticizes that such a recognition would require not only structural funding but also higher investments to realize the high ambitions as formulated in the ‘Tour de Force’. This coalition of 23 stakeholders involved in the formulation of this agenda, including the previous national government, had set the objective of growing cycle use by 20 % (measured in km cycled) between 2017 and 2027. The average Dutch person cycles about 1,000 km per year.
700 million needed
Saskia Kluit, Director of the Fietsersbond (Dutch Cyclists’ Union) says: “Together with the big cities we have calculated that cycling needs an additional investment of 700 million euro per year. Bicycle parking at railway stations requires investments of 560 to 700 million euro until 2030 (65 – 75 million euro per year) from all levels of government combined. Fast cycle routes need an additional push of 106 million euro in co-funding from the national government during this term. Then we haven’t started yet talking about the massive investments needed in cities to give cycling more space.”
Public health and fight obesity
On the positive side, Fietsersbond welcomed the announcement of the launch of a national prevention agreement, meant to stimulate better public health and fight obesity. Cycling and other forms of active mobility can play an important role in this.
The new coalition also agreed to increase the rate of the reduced VAT from 6 to 9 %. The Netherlands is one of the countries in the EU that applies the reduced VAT rate on bicycle repair, hence such an increase will render bicycle repair services more expensive.