Minister heads to the Netherlands to explore cycling opportunities for Scotland

Transport Minister Keith Brown will meet with Dutch cycling experts this week to share their knowledge and experience first-hand the cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands.

The Minister’s programme will feature presentations by specialists from the city of Amersfoort and will include a tour of a train station with integrated infrastructure such as cycle and electric car hire networks.

Tuesday’s visit to The Netherlands was organised by the Dutch Embassy following Cycling Scotland’s “Love Cycling, Go Dutch” conference in November last year.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said:

“I am delighted to be visiting The Netherlands to see for myself how they differ in terms of infrastructure, education and attitudes on cycling.

“The people of The Netherlands have a wealth of cycling knowledge which we in Scotland are keen to learn from as we move towards our shared vision that by 2020,10% of all journeys will be made by bike.

“I am hoping to bring back many of the lessons learned from this visit and discuss these further with the cycling community and local authorities back home in order to improve and promote bike use across Scotland.

“I would like to thank the Dutch Embassy for inviting me to The Netherlands to discuss and share ideas on cycling and other transport issues.”

Ian Aitken, chief executive of Cycling Scotland said:

“It is very encouraging to see that senior politicians from national and local government are heading out to look at one of the finest examples of a cycling culture in the world. Partnering with the Dutch Cycling Embassy for our conference last year gave hundreds of professionals in active travel and transport a taste of the amazing success the Netherlands has enjoyed in getting people on their bikes, but there is no substitute for seeing it first-hand.

“I think the Minister and Cllrs McAveety and Orr will return to Scotland full of inspiration after seeing what a difference cycling makes to the environment, health and wellbeing of a country and hope to see them replicate the bold political leadership that has enabled the Dutch to integrate cycling so successfully into everyday life through a combination of infrastructure, training and promotion."

John Lauder, national director, Sustrans Scotland said:

"It’s great to hear that the Scottish Minister for Transport is travelling to the Netherlands to look at what cycling infrastructure they have in place, this shows a clear commitment and interest on his part. He is sure to be inspired by a country that leads the way in all aspects of urban transport design. We are hopeful that he will find this fact finding mission useful and will come away confident that Scotland can replicate the Dutch quality and approach.

"Sustrans considers that with the appropriate provisions in place, Scotland could easily be on a par with the Netherlands in terms of levels of cycling. Hopefully this visit will highlight to the Minister and to the Councillors also attending, what work still needs to be done in order to get more people on their bikes for those short everyday journeys."

Notes to editors

Transport Scotland funds both Cycling Scotland and Sustrans to promote cycling in Scotland through various projects. More information is available on these websites:

Published 10 Jun 2013