What We Can Learn From the Dutch Cycling Model

A conversation with Chris Bruntlett about the Dutch cycling model, urban mobility, bike lanes, and the impact of the pandemic on cities.


For this new episode of the Building Bridges podcast, I’m thrilled to share my interview with Chris Bruntlett, Marketing Manager at the Dutch Cycling Embassy.

He and I talked about the impact of the pandemic on urban mobility, the Dutch model and its genesis, Paris, London, Berlin, and many other things. I found Bruntlett’s case for more bike lanes very convincing. Urban mobility is not a zero-sum game! We should focus on positive externalities.

Chris and his wife Melissa are urban mobility activists who wrote two great books about cycling: Building the Cycling City and Curbing Traffic. Two years ago they moved from Vancouver, Canada to Delft in the Netherlands to experience the joys of the cycling lifestyle. Chris even made it his day job to champion cycling around the world!

Working at the Dutch Cycling Embassy, he spreads the word about the Dutch model, sharing his new country’s “expertise on building what supports the Dutch cycling culture to those interested”, thus building (cycling) bridges between cities, countries and cultures.

👉 I also wrote about it in this newsletter Laetitia@Work: Why the future of work needs bike lanes:

When you look at the infrastructure decisions made in the Netherlands in the 1970s, you see that they were designed as very democratic and inclusive infrastructures: the old use them, people with disabilities use them, so do families with children. Cycling is cheap. And it has the potential to transform our (work) lives for the better.

👉 For more on the subject, I do recommend their latest book Curbing Traffic which I’m currently reading and enjoying very much 🚴‍♂️ 📚

In the planning field, little attention is given to the effects that a “low-car” city can have on the human experience at a psychological and sociological level. Studies are beginning to surface that indicate the impact that external factors—such as sound—can have on our stress and anxiety levels. Or how the systematic dismantling of freedom and autonomy for children and the elderly to travel through their cities is causing isolation and dependency.

I hope you enjoy this podcast! Do not forget to share it with people who might be interested 👇


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(Credit: Franz Liszt, Angelus ! Prière Aux Anges Gardiens—extrait du disque Miroirs de Jonas Vitaud, NoMadMusic.)