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HOUTEN, the Netherlands — Largely, American planners inspired by the Dutch bicycle experience have taken an “if you build it, they will come” approach: If American cities invest the money to redesign their roads, transportation experts say, children, senior citizens, and men and women in suits will try out biking.
But the Dutch have another lesson to share: Better bicycle infrastructure isn’t enough: You need better bikers, too, and more bike-aware motorists. Universal in-school bicycle education guarantees that every Dutch child can comfortably ride in traffic. By the time they get their drivers’ license, they’ve used bicycles as their primary form of transportation for years — and that habit continues into adulthood.