EDINBURGH is set to look to the Netherlands for ideas to get people on their bikes and make cycling a central part of city life.
Dutch officials, politicians and campaigners told a conference in the Capital how cycling was at the heart of culture and society in Holland.
Edinburgh’s transport vice-convener and cycling leader Jim Orr said it was a model which should be copied here.
Amsterdam is seen as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world with 38 per cent of all trips made by bike.
Edinburgh councillors have already committed to spending five per cent of the transport budget on cycling and have adopted an Active Travel Action Plan to make cycling easier.
The target is to see 15 per cent of all journeys to work being made by bicycle by 2020 – up from the current level of around six per cent.
Ideas that could be trialled in Edinburgh include segregated cycleways, better cycle parking facilities and cycle storage provision for people living in tenements.
Mr Orr said the Love Cycling, Go Dutch conference had charted how Holland had built high levels of cycling over a period of 30 years.
He said: “The Dutch set a fantastic example. They are way ahead of Scottish cities in their urban planning and making cities more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly.
“In Holland, cycling and cycle safety is something people are used to from infant age upwards, so they grow up with bikes and never get out of the habit of being on a bike.”
He added: “Transport culture here is still dominated by the private car and the local bus company, and the majority of people don’t yet feel it’s safe to cycle on our streets.”
John Lauder, national director of campaign group Sustrans Scotland, said Edinburgh was “easily the leading authority in Scotland when it comes to cycling” and called on the Scottish Government to copy its spending commitment.
He said Scotland could learn from Holland, where the majority of short trips were by bike.
He said: “The first thing they have done is created safe areas for cycling. They have segregated cycle lanes, they have removed parking. Most town and city centres in Holland are pedestrians and cycles only.”