(CNN) — With 17 million residents and 23 million bicycles, the Netherlands already has extra bikes than individuals. Now, it needs to get much more cyclists on the roads — and can pay individuals to do it.

The Dutch authorities not too long ago introduced that it’s going to make investments $390 million (€345 million) in biking infrastructure to get 200,000 extra individuals commuting by bike in three years’ time.

Fifteen routes will likely be developed into “bike owner freeways” (highways that cater to these on bikes), 25,000 bike parking areas will likely be created and greater than 60 bike storage amenities will likely be upgraded, based on the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Administration.

“My ambition is to make sure that individuals can simply get to work or faculty, or go to household and buddies,” says Stientje van Veldhoven, state secretary for that division, who’s spearheading the venture.

Getting extra individuals on bikes

It isn’t that folks aren’t already biking within the Netherlands. In 2016, over 1 / 4 of all journeys made by Dutch residents had been by bike, according to the Netherlands Institute for Transport Coverage Evaluation.

However solely 25% of these journeys had been work-related, in comparison with 37% which had been made for leisure. The remaining had been for college, buying, or different actions.

In response to van Veldhoven, greater than 50% of individuals within the Netherlands stay lower than 15 kilometers from work, and greater than half of commuters’ automotive journeys are beneath 7.5 kilometers lengthy — a distance that “can simply be coated by bike,” she says.

Stientje van Veldhoven (pictured) commutes by bike, according to the ministry.

Stientje van Veldhoven (pictured) commutes by bike, based on the ministry.

Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Administration, Netherlands

To get individuals to ditch their vehicles, cash is being laid on the desk.

The Netherlands at the moment rewards commuting cyclists with tax credit of $zero.22 (€zero.19) per kilometer. Corporations and staff would agree on the gap of an individual’s biking route.

Nevertheless, that is at the moment a little-known profit not supported by many employers, based on the infrastructure ministry. That is one thing the federal government is hoping to vary by higher selling the scheme and getting extra corporations on board.

There are already 11 main employers within the Netherlands committing to measures equivalent to financing staff’ bikes. The federal government is urging employers to supply higher amenities for commuting cyclists, equivalent to showers on the workplace, based on the ministry.

Biking tradition

At the moment the Netherlands is thought for its biking tradition, however that hasn’t all the time been the case.

“Within the 1960s and 70s, many Dutch cities had been making more room for the automotive and biking was at an all-time low,” says Meredith Glaser, a researcher on the City Biking Institute on the College of Amsterdam. “It wasn’t till the late 1980s and early 90s that insurance policies prioritizing biking and strolling had been carried out.

Cycling in Utrecht, a historic city south of Amsterdam.

Biking in Utrecht, a historic metropolis south of Amsterdam.

Holland advertising

A “good storm of occasions” led to excessive biking charges. Among the many contributing elements had been the oil disaster of the 1970s, social actions within the 1960s and 1970s towards the demolition of neighborhoods for the development of freeways, and concrete density and land makes use of that inspired brief journeys.

The Netherlands is now “one of many few nations that takes biking significantly as a mode of transportation,” provides Glaser.

The brand new biking freeways embody one between Amsterdam and Amstelveen, a suburb of the capital metropolis. One other hyperlinks the northern college city of Groningen with Assen, a metropolis situated in Drenthe, often known as the “biking province” of the Netherlands.

Building will begin inside the subsequent three years.