Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dutch bike for adult carrying two children

Among the various types of bikes sold by the De Fietsfabriek shops in the Netherlands are bikes for carrying two children.  I do see a fair number of instances of multiple children being carried on Burleys, but the children aren't strapped in, so it is unsafe.

The next stage of the take up of biking as transportation will be a greater variety of bikes being made and marketed to smaller, more specific segments of the market.

Still, the inventory presented in most US bike shops is weighted toward what we'd call "racing bikes," which sell for a lot more money than a low cost city-focused bike, which generally can be bought for $400 or less.

That makes sense, as the market for biking as transportation is still quite small, focused on major cities.

Although we are seeing more examples of Dutch-type cargo bikes being used in the US, often for carrying children.

And younger children are accommodated within biking by carriers, add-on bike attachments, creating a kind of tandem bike, and trailers, along with their own bikes.
Parent and child on a bicycle, Takoma Park Farmers Market

Bike share bicycle with child in the carrier

Children bicycling to school on the Metropolitan Branch Trail, DC

African-American woman toting three children in a Dutch style bicycle, Newark
Image from the WalkBikeJersey blog.

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At 11:55 PM, Anonymous Alex B. said...

" I do see a fair number of instances of multiple children being carried on Burleys, but the children aren't strapped in, so it is unsafe."

'Unsafe' is relative. If children not strapping in is unsafe, then there's a whole lot of unsafe cycling going on in the Netherlands.

Stuff like this (stuffing lots of kids in a wheelbarrow bike):

Or this (an adult riding side-saddle on a rear rack):

Or this (which I saw a lot of in Amsterdam):

Point being, the relative safety has to do with the available infrastructure moreso than the kinds of bikes available. And if you want to see a larger, deeper market for bicycles in the US, the answer needs to involve broadening the market for those purchases. Providing more bike-specific infrastructure is the way you grow the market.

At 6:26 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...


While of course your points (as usual) are spot on, I do believe that despite our lack of the kind of infrastructure present in the Netherlands or Denmark, it is possible for more people to bike. (But that even more people would bike with the kind of pervasive bike-specific and supportive infrastructure present in those places.)

E.g., a lot of DC (neighborhood/collector) streets function like bike boulevards anyway. I don't get to a lot of different places around the city, but I see a rise in bike-based movement of kids to school in Capitol Hill more generally, but also around where I live, there are a persistent number of families that ride their kids to school (a charter school is around the block from us).

So even in the current infrastructure it it is more possible. And I wonder if "better bikes" is one of the elements that would increase take up in the current framework.


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