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In Amsterdam, there are more bicycles than people

Posting in Cities

Amsterdam may have recently ranked as the top city for cyclists, but in a place full of two-wheeled congestion, traffic and road rage, are there simply too many of them?

An overabundance of bicycles has appeared in the city. There are 880,000 bicycles in comparison to a population of 800,000 city inhabitants. In a city where few wear helmets -- even the idea was unthinkable not so long ago -- the old and young, mothers and pets can all travel in an eco-friendly way. However, for residents this means chaos at peak times, and train stations akin to "war zones," according to the New York Times.

32 percent of all trips within the city are by bike in comparison to 22 percent by car. However, demand appears to be outstripping supply when it comes down to parking, and many Amsterdamers are becoming frustrated with the lack of parking space, "bike rage" and congestion. The city must now invest $135 million in improving biking infrastructure and plans to construct 38,000 new bike parking racks within the next few years.

In addition, the city's main train station is a source of many congestion problems. City officials say that a new $27 million underground garage in front of the station is planned to add thousands of additional spots by 2020.

In a city where bikes are such a popular form of transport, a city has to invest to keep up with demand -- especially as few Amsterdamers have only one bike. However, as noted by Thomas Koorn of Amsterdam's Transport and Traffic Department, it isn't the worst problem to have.

"We have a real parking issue. We don't think there's a crisis; we want to keep it attractive. You cannot imagine if all this traffic were cars."

Read More: Fast Co.Exist

Image credit: Flickr/.m for matthijs

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— By on June 25, 2013, 4:34 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure