The pure progressiveness of the ideas and justification for the robustness of the Netherlands mike infrastructure in contrast to America is breathtaking. For example, there are bike facilities that resemble roundabouts and other such "car-centric" roadway designs. So much is put into creating this robust relationship with bike infrastructure in the Netherlands that it not only encourages a vast higher percentage of individuals to participate but it ensures that the infrastructure becomes a part of their culture overall. This culture of bike ridership of 29% is actually one of the highest in the world.
In the United States, the idea that bike infrastructure was necessary has only recently caught fire--as the idea of biking was seen as childish and inadequate. This idea of inadequacy is easily seen by the inadequate infrastructure that has risen from this enlightenment. Most facilities still require a car centric culture that has everyone yielding to the power of the car. The idea of having money for separate bike facilities that do not go along a road is seen as less effective as money needed for roads for bikes. Even the Department of Transportation funding coming mainly from the tax on gasoline shows how this funding mechanism harps on the ideals of the car. Additionally, the AASHTO Green Book has been very pivotal in making car-centric transportation design became the norm as it was put into regulatory infrastructure that makes non-car-centric design illegal in a sense. It has the roads design with large bends, decreased vegetation, wide corridors, and high-speeds that does not care about the bike. Thus, it has been a struggle to go toward the bike facilities in America due to this infrastructure.
In the Netherlands, biking and bike infrastructure is much more accepted into the overall ideals of the nation. As a low country and more progressive state, the Netherlands understand the need of protecting against global warming as well as the ability to have a unitary ideal of what should be accepted. The unitary government style (that is truly opposite of the federalism of the United States) makes the ability to conform to a single idea easier so that the nation of the Netherlands have more commonality in thought and execution that the diverse United States. This spills over into the custos that come from the Bike infrastructure. In much of the country, the idea is that you must protect the most vulnerable on the road. Thus, much of the bike infrastructure gives bike priority over cars in terms of the right of way as well as speed. For the Netherlands, there is always an idea that you can always and should always have bike infrastructure in a space. Therefore, much of the design contrasts immensely from the AASHTO basis in the United States. Also, these bike facilities are where the main points of commerce and retail is connected to. In the United States, it is extremely rare to have the main entrance to businesses to be bike only or bike "first." I, myself, have only seen this on the Atlanta Beltline. However, the Netherlands understands that commerce is much more helped by bike infrastructure as well.
In conclusion, the United States and Netherlands have extremely different bike infrastructure design guidelines. However, if the US is trying to help the world get to a more inhabitable, livable, clean environment, we must follow the dogma of the Netherlands.
Pucher, J. R., & Buehler, R. (2012). City Cycling. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Summary National Policy Strategy for Infrastructure and Spatial Planning (Publication). (2011). The Hague, Netherlands: Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.