Transport planners in the Netherlands know how to safely fit bicycle use into tight spaces. The country is one the most densely settled in the world, with compact cities and many older areas with narrow streets. They also have much higher car ownership than Singapore. It would be hard to argue that the Netherlands' cities have more space for bicycle facilities than we do in Singapore.
If you want to know the Dutch "secret" for a great bicycling environment then an excellent start would be the visually stunning, Cycling in the Netherlands (pdf), put out by the Dutch equivalent of the LTA.
One of its key points is that "bicycle policy works"!
... a consistent approach by Dutch policy makers to the bicycle has had a demonstrable effect. Municipalities which have had a focused bicycle policy for some time have a higher bicycle share than other cities. Traffic safety has also benefited from the bicycle policy. (p.19)
There is safety in numbers for bicycle users as this figure from page 13 shows. The more bicycle use there is in a city, the safer it is per km.
Page 64 of Cycling in the Netherlands also kindly lists further English-language resources on Dutch bicycle policy:
CROW, Sign up for the bike: Design manual for a bicycle-friendly infrastructure, 1996. This manual can still be supplied. See www.crow.nl. An English translation of the revised Ontwerpwijze Fietsverkeer (Cycle Traffic Design Method) may appear in 2007.To these sources I would add the Interface for Cycling Expertise (I-ce), which is devoted to sharing Dutch bicycle planning expertise worldwide.
The SWOV organisation for traffic safety research also has an extensive website in English, containing considerable information about bicycle use and bicycle safety: www.swov.nl
The research unit of the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, AVV, has a
large number of reports on traffic in the Netherlands in the English section of its website, including ‘passenger transport’ and various publications relevant to bicycle policy: www.rws-avv.nl
The Fietsberaad, or bicycle consultancy, recently issued an English-language publication outlining bicycle policy in a number of cycling cities: Continous and integral: The cycling policies of Groningen and other European cycling cities (Fietsberaad-publication no. 7, April 2006). This publication contains a number of accounts on the traffic policy of several cities characterised by a relatively high degree of bicycle use, extending over a prolonged period. Each account gives a specific picture of the ‘course of development’ of bicycle use in a municipality and the relationship between bicycle use and local policy. It covers five cities in the Netherlands known as ‘cycling cities’: Groningen, Amsterdam, Enschede, Zwolle and Veenendaal. This is augmented by a selection of five cities from other neighbouring countries also featuring a reasonable level of bicycle use: Münster and Freiburg in Germany, Copenhagen and Odense in Denmark and Ghent in Belgium. The publication can be downloaded from www.fietsberaad.nl, via ‘rapporten’.
[Update: I wrote a follow-up to this post over at the Reinventing Urban Transport blog.]
Thanks to Cor-Henk for the link to the Cycling in the Netherlands document.