Friday: SNG hosts evening presentation about Dutch cycling culture

“… but Seattle isn’t Amsterdam.”

You’ve probably heard this argument at some point as an excuse for why your town shouldn’t even try to build quality bike infrastructure. But half a century ago, death in traffic was rampant in the Netherlands just like the United States. Now they are among the safest in the world. How did they do it?

Well, there is a lot to unpack in that question, which is why Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is hosting Vancouver’s Melissa and Chris Bruntlett Friday evening for a presentation and discussion called “Building the Cycling City: Dutch Lessons for Seattle” (Seattle Bike Blog is a sponsor). Tickets are sliding scale and benefit Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. Buy them online.

If you can’t make the Friday event, you can catch Melissa and Chris Saturday morning during Bainbridge Island’s Open Streets Festival (stay tuned for more on that).

More details from SNG:

Building the Cycling City: Dutch Lessons for Seattle
An evening with Melissa & Chris Bruntlett

Please join us for a very special keynote presentation and community panel:

Friday, October 5, 2018, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Impact Hub Seattle
220 2nd Ave S, Main Event Space (1st floor, ADA accessible, bike storage available)


Tickets are sliding scale, $5 – $100, and on sale now:

Proceeds benefit nonprofit Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. Please consider a solidarity ticket of $10 or more to support Seattle Neighborhood Greenways’ critically needed work in support of safe and healthy streets citywide.

No one will be turned away for lack of funds.


Around the world, countries marvel at Dutch cycling culture and infrastructure while an unfortunate “that would never work here” attitude prevents real change from happening in most U.S. cities, including our own. But the Dutch overcame many of the same challenges as other car-clogged cities like Seattle, and their story is an important model for moving us toward a more human-scale, bike-friendly future.

Join Melissa and Chris Bruntlett for a fun, visual, and interactive discussion. They’ll share the triumphs and challenges of the Dutch cycling story, show how some of the ideas are already being adopted in global cities, and draw out concrete lessons for Seattle to follow their lead.

Following the Bruntletts’ inspiring, photo-rich presentation of what other cities are doing, a lively, solution-focused panel will bring the ideas home to Seattle and ask, “What will it really take to get there?”

The event is scheduled for Friday, October 5th, 5:00-7:00pm at the main event space in Impact Hub Seattle. Thanks to our amazing food and beverage sponsors, we’ll have fantastic beer from Peddler Brewing, fine wine from Eleven Winery, substantive appetizers, delicious coffee & desserts from Convoy Coffee, and time for socializing!

Event webpage:

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6 Responses to Friday: SNG hosts evening presentation about Dutch cycling culture

  1. Peri Hartman says:

    My biggest question is how to fit bicycle lanes into our limited streets. Did Netherlands go through the same growing pains to get where they are today: “why take a lane away from auto traffic when I hardly ever see a bike in the bike lane? we’re spending public money for bikes and ‘they’ don’t pay anything.”

    Did the Dutch do something different to fit bike infrastructure into their cities? How did they get the public to accept it?

    The event sounds interesting, I may attend.

    • Q says:

      I think a better question is, how can we continue justify using up so much of what could be active street space with private parking? If you want to talk about people not paying their share or a resource being used up by people who aren’t present in it. That’s the actual culprit, not the constantly disproved shallow soundbite of “bikes don’t pay taxes”. Let’s use common sense and use our streets for what they are meant for.

      • Peri Hartman says:

        That’s a legitmate issue, too. Regardless, it would be useful to know if the Dutch had similar pushback and how they dealt with it. It seems like bike infrastructure is well accepted and well used today.

    • Nick vdH says:

      This post is a good primer on how the Dutch became a cycling nation. The short answer is protests in the early ’70s over increasing car related deaths, especially of children.

  2. Almost everything that cycles here in the Netherlands cycles along neat paths. Well arranged, that’s for sure. Inside as well as outside of towns. Yet there is a counter-movement. More and more cyclists are buying a mountain bike to be able to cycle in nature, on rough tracks. There is even an explosively growing number of Dutch providers of adventurous bicycle tours.

    Discovering the untrodden cycle paths is alive. Craving for exceptional experiences.

  3. AW says:

    My understanding is that the Dutch view of responsibility among road users is very different from that in the USA. In the Netherlands, the larger vehicle is responsible for any road collision regardless of the circumstances. Car hits bike – it is the driver’s fault. Period. Bike hits pedestrian, it is the biker’s fault. So anyone driving a car is going to be extra careful around bikes and pedestrians even if the bike riders or pedestrians are not being safe. I am not sure if this was an attitude that also needed to be changed or if it was already law.

    Another thing is that a much larger percent of the population is a bicycle rider at one point in their life. So the drivers would have more empathy and know how to keep bicycle riders safe. Dutch drivers will open the car door from the inside using their right hand only so they will be forced to see any oncoming bicycles.

    My limited time bicycling around Amsterdam was very pleasant.

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