I’m from the Netherlands, the country with more bicycles than inhabitants. This blog post about bicycling is from my Dutch point of view.
Seven reasons to bike in the Bay Area
- The weather is almost always good
- There are hardly any hills
- There are many bike friendly roads and cycling paths in the Bay Area. Go to Google maps, calculate directions and click on bicycling.
- You can take your bike for free on CalTrain, Marguerite Shuttle, VTA busses, and BART
- There are plenty bike shops in the Bay Area, check them out here
- All cities in the Bay Area promote bicycling. They make bike friendly paths, publish bike maps and offer bikes classes
- Most people in the Bay Area live within 5 miles from work, so biking is a seriously healthy, and economic alternative
Four additonal reasons to bike to Stanford
- Stanford and the City of Palo Alto have many safe cycling paths
- Stanford has a bike shop and many repair stations
- If you join the Stanford Commute Club and not buy a Stanford parking permit, you can get up to $300 reward
- Stanford offers bikes classes too. Send an email to email@example.com to be notified when the next class will be held
All information about biking at Stanford can be found here.
Facts about bicyling in the Netherlands
- The Netherlands has more bicycles than inhabitants
- 87% of the Dutch people own a bicycle
- 34% of the Dutch take a bike for a urban trip, against 3% of the Californians
- Every year 4.5% of all bikes in the Netherlands are stolen
- Most Dutch people don’ t wear a helmet
- Biking in the Netherlands is safe because cycling paths are separated from the road and because motorists are used to bicyclists
- The Dutch bike association does not promote bike helmets for a couple of reasons, 1. because they believe that obliging a helmet leads to less bicycle use, 2. because a helmet emphasizes the danger of bicycling and gives bicycling a bad image, 3. because they believe most serious injuries are caused by cars at high speed and in those situation a helmet does not help, and 4. because a helmet gives a false sense of security and increases risk behavior. Interesting isn’t it?
- Most bikes in the Netherlands have a special generator for the light
My tips for bicyclists
- Don’t ride on El Camino Real. Go on the safer side streets within the residential areas. Check Google maps, calculate directions and click on bicycling.
- If a lane is too narrow for a vehicle to safely pass on the left, then it is safer to bike in the middle of the lane
- Use hand signals. Show your intentions.
- Don’t stop in the blind spot of a vehicle
- Have good lights on your bike. Do not install blinding light beams.
- Don’t bike on the sidewalk unless absolutely necessary.
My tips for motorists
- Don’t yield to bicyclists if they don’t have right of way. Bicyclists have to follow the same rules as motor vehicles by law; they are not pedestrians.
- Use your blinkers when you make a turn or change lanes. Show your intentions.
- Look over your shoulder. Bicyclists could be in the blind spot of your car.