My initial assessment of cycling here in the Netherlands that it is very natural and the Dutch citizens have nailed it. It is as if there is a secret code or language that they understand one another when coming to an intersection. One will yield to the other at an intersection then flawlessly without having to completely stop and touch the ground they will turn and join the flow of traffic. On the contrasting side, I come up to an intersection and I hesitate and second guess myself and I end up stopping and reach for the ground. I have gotten better but it takes some time to feel the naturalness of biking here in the Netherlands.
Design differs immensely as every type of road seems to have bike infrastructure either on it or near it. For example, the advisory bike lanes allowing bikes and cars on the same road with cyclist having priority. Then there are the separate bikeways that ran parallel to a highway. They even have roundabouts with a two-way cycle track, which is amazing, or a one-way cycle track. There are tunnels under the road so bikes do not have to cross over the street. This is vastly different from the US. The design in the Netherlands is all interconnected and in Atlanta it is very sporadic. There is not that much infrastructure that is connected, just like with Marta, it is not evenly distributed throughout the city.
Cyclist are prioritized above cars here, in many cases cars yield to bikes. There were cases where the bikes yielded but it was understood by everyone both cars and cyclists what happens at each intersection. There does not feel to be a macho sense of entitlement of cars that they are the ultimate force on the road. The culture about biking is that it is a part of their culture that is understood by everyone. I have seen every age on a bike, whether it was a 3-year-old learning on a balance bike to an elderly man pedaling up an incline, there is no bias with age here. Along with this perception there is a sense that if you bike here then you should know what you are doing and follow the rules. There were times when a couple people messed up by not yielding or turning fast enough the Dutch people got annoyed. This is understandable as every culture has insider expectations. For example in Atlanta, if people from out of state that are driving through and don’t understand the connector and how to merge, locals get annoyed. Overall, I am very impressed with their bike infrastructure and how the people actually use it as their transportation all the time.