Book review

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Bruntlett, M., & Bruntlett, C. (2018). Building the cycling city: The Dutch blueprint for urban vitality. Washington, District of Columbia: Island Press.

In light of the recent news about how ebikes now account for the largest share of new bike sales in the Netherlands, I thought I'd read this book. It's an introduction to how the Netherlands developed its impressive cycling transportation network, written by a Canadian family who have moved to Delft, Netherlands, to work for the Dutch Cycling Embassy consulting organization. This is a book aimed at city planners and cycling advocates, with case studies based on how Dutch cities adopted cycling plans through both major and incremental improvements, such as the cycle superhighway the Rijn-Wallpad (Rhine-Waal Path) connecting two large cities Arnhem and Nijmegen with a 10-mile separated cycle path, Eindhoven's Hovenring overpass, and Groningen's trailblazing Traffic Circulation Plan.

Three criticism's I have of the book are: 1) the authors do not address how to address the influence of false narratives on the public; 2) the chapter on bakfiets cargo bikes needs revising; and 3) ebikes are promoted in the book for the purposes of increasing the average distance cycled, but the book does not consider the impact of speed pedelecs. With regard to the first in my home town in the UK the mayor has in the past 5 years used EU funding to pedestrianize city center streets unfortunately coinciding with the economic downturn which has led to a great deal of criticism whenever a new bicycle facility is put in place blaming such facilities for forcing long standing businesses to close (when it's the economy stupid). With regard to the second criticism unfortunately the Bruntlett's chose to highlight Metrofiets in Portland,OR, as an American cargo bike success story just before that framebuilder closed its doors. And regarding my third criticism the Dutch banned speed pedelecs from bicycle paths from January 2017, yet this prevents them from using the very infrastructure the Bruntlett's highlight for promoting commuting longer distances, this paradox is very apparent here in the US whenever the topic of lifting ebike restrictions from bike paths is discussed and people bring up the People for Bikes 3-Class model ebike legislation (tldr: it's easier just to keep banning all ebikes from urban bike paths and multi use trails because ebike Class differences aren't visible).

That being said I recommend the book for its thoroughly researched explanation both for the construction of Europe's finest urban cycling infrastructure, and for the practical examples given for how city governments in the US in particular in New York City and Portland, OR, have applied some Dutch cycle infrastructure design principles to their own contexts.
 
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David Berry

Well-Known Member
Region
Australia
City
Ipswich, QLD
Ebikes now account for the largest share of new bike sales in the Netherlands.
Really?

To me, it seems like a claim that is more enthusiastic than plausible; certainly, it isn't supported by the 'news' link despite the title of the article. Quote: While the e-bike’s market share hovered around 30% in the past years, sales jumped to 40% in 2018.

Shoddy journalism?

Beware confirmation bias, especially when backed up by selective 'evidence'.
… David
 
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Dewey

Well-Known Member
Really?

To me, it seems like a claim that is more enthusiastic than plausible; certainly, it isn't supported by the 'news' quoted despite the title of the article. Quote: While the e-bike’s market share hovered around 30% in the past years, sales jumped to 40% in 2018.

Shoddy journalism?
… David

Yeah, the journalist ought to have explained how they segment the Dutch market's bike sales. Still 400,000 ebikes vs 1 million pedal bikes is a healthy sales percentage, and the journalist did provide numbers that show the slump in sales of speed pedelecs following the Dutch bike path ban.