Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cycling In Amsterdam

Watching Parisian cyclists ride between the traffic lanes put an end to my Vélib’ aspirations. Paranoia would have trumped any pleasure I might have taken in the excursion, yet people seemed respectful of one another. It was even more so in the crowded, narrow streets and fietspaden of Amsterdam. Our three foot law might provoke polite chuckling among people who must share such confined spaces where mere inches are the normal buffer. For my part, the first few minutes were spent following others, but once assimilated, I felt the sort of carefree confidence that cyclists in Savannah know. Amsterdam is one happy place. Couples ride together, holding hands. Cargo racks support groceries, friends and children. Motorists are courteous, perhaps because they, too, ride. In three days of wandering on foot, by bike and tram, we witnessed nary an angry outburst nor collision. Complete Streets is a worthy goal and I salute the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and others who are working to achieve safety through diversity here.

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