Building a Truly Bike-Friendly City: Lessons from Amsterdam

Amsterdam has long been recognized as one of the world’s great bicycling cities, and for good reason—the city is home to more bikes than people and a higher percentage of trips within the city are made by bike than by car. While Amsterdam residents have long had a history of cycling to meet their daily needs, a cultural preference for two-wheeled transportation alone does not explain why the city so vastly outpaces its peers in nearly every measure of bicycle use. Instead, over the past half-century, local advocates, elected officials, and other stakeholders have worked to reverse the city’s post–World War II embrace of the automobile by crafting bike-friendly policies and directing funding toward infrastructure that makes meeting one’s daily transportation needs by bike a safe, convenient, and even obvious choice.