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How Amsterdam ditched cars for bikes: lesson for Saigon

By Tran Lam   June 15, 2022 | 07:16 pm PT
How Amsterdam ditched cars for bikes: lesson for Saigon
People rent public bikes in HCMC in December 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh
Progress often means moving upwards, like switching from bicycles and motorbikes to cars.

But Amsterdam in the Netherlands seems to be doing things differently.

Here's a picture of Haarlemmerdijk in 1971 and 2020. It is the same street with the same houses, but the streams of cars in 1971 have been replaced by bikes and pedestrians in 2020.

Two photos of Amsterdams Haarlemmerdijk in 1971 (L) and 2020. Photo by Thomas Chilipper

Photos of Amsterdam's Haarlemmerdijk in 1971 and 2020. Photo by Thomas Chilipper

That "backward evolution" was facilitated by a bicycle network in the city.

An illustration of the bike network in Amsterdam. Photo by Thomas Chilipper

An illustration of the bike network in Amsterdam. Photo by Thomas Chilipper

In Ho Chi Minh City, ever since a public bike renting system became available, I and my friends spend weekends biking around for hours. We drink coffee or go round Turtle Lake or drop by Nguyen Van Binh book street.

We are now trying to bicycle from downtown to Can Gio District to test our endurance and stay away from the cars and motorbikes and the fumes and dust they cause.

Sometimes we joke among ourselves that if the city already has a pedestrians-only street, a bikes-only street should not be too far away.

 
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