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A cyclist’s mecca, with lessons for Boston

By innovating ways for cars and bikes to share the road, the Dutch have set the safety standard.

Cycling. In the Netherlands, it's how people shop, commute, date, carpool children, pick up takeout, travel home from bars, and carry cabinets home from Ikea. Toddlers ride in cargo bikes called bakfiets, and battery-powered bikes help Dutch seniors ride well into their 80s. Disabled residents on motorized wheelchairs use cycle tracks to travel between towns. Bike parking spaces are tough to come by, even in train stations with 7,000 spots. Emergency vehicles occasionally have trouble driving through narrow streets crammed thick with parked bikes. Cities hire bike parking attendants in shopping areas to prevent bike theft. In the Netherlands, they say, cycling is not a choice, or even a lifestyle: It simply is.

Martine Powers and Alvin Chang / Globe Staff

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