The Dutch Bicycle Master Plan

Directorate General for Passenger Transport (NL)
Publication date: 
March 1999

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The Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) established by the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management was rounded off after seven years in late 1997 with a comprehensive evaluation. This evaluation was then published in a final report, together with a description of all projects that had been carried out (Verkeer en Waterstaat [Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management], 1998). An abridged version has been included in this publication in response to international interest in the activities of the Bicycle Master Plan project group.

Moreover, another study that has been carried out in the framework of the Bicycle Master Plan merits an English summarization. The Stichting Historie der Techniek (SHT) (Foundation for the History of Technology) has carried out a study into the history of bicycle use and bicycle policy in nine Western European cities, focussing on an historical explanation for the similarities and differences in the development of bicycle use (Albert de la Bruhèze and Veraart, 1999). This study, augmented by several other sources, fits into the framework of the specific history of Dutch bicycle use and bicycle policy which, in turn, forms the context for the development and final results of the Bicycle Master Plan.

This historical background makes it easier for the reader to understand why the Bicycle Master Plan was established. This is particularly true of Chapter 2, which covers the interesting period 1950-1990 and in which all kinds of signals can be found that point
towards the 1990s.

Chapter 1 covers the period 1890-1950 and is of a more anecdotal nature.

Chapter 3 describes the evaluation of the Bicycle Master Plan, subdivided into results, carryover and effects. Recent developments in bicycle use and cyclist safety are quantitatively analyzed in Chapter 4.

Finally, the question of how Dutch bicycle policy should continue is brought up for discussion in Chapter 5. After all, the completion of the Bicycle Master Plan does not necessarily bring an end to the Dutch central government’s bicycle policy. This policy will naturally continue, often less explicitly and integrated more strongly into other policy. Increasingly, it will be carried out by other parties within the broad scope of transport and traffic.

A brief description of a selection of the 112 research, pilot and model projects carried out in the framework of the Bicycle Master Plan has been included, as well as an overview of international publications relevant to the Bicycle Master Plan.