Dutch Delights

After more than a week in the Netherlands, I’ve been thoroughly spoiled by their famously good cycling infrastructure.  Barely a single close encounter with a lorry….  after much sorting and filtering of holiday snaps, here are some of the aspects of their provision that I noticed and appreciated:

This was one of the many causeways linking bits of land.  You can see the highway on the right.  Being so far removed meant this was peaceful and picturesque.

Navigating by Numbers.  The entire cycle network has numbered junctions or nodes,  and signs like this show you where you are and which way to go to the next junction.  I found that I still used the map (Half the pleasure of touring is in the map-reading!) but these often made route-finding easy.   The exception was if one accidentally wandered off the network, in which case the numbers would disappear….

This bridge didn’t have the cycle lane added as an afterthought. It was designed in from the start.  And there was another two-way cycle track on the other side!

With standards properly set and applied, and cycling taken seriously, the Dutch have machines like this to sweep the cycle paths.  This was the main road in a small village and you can see how pedestrians, bikes, and cars each have their own space.  And unlike in Britain, the poles and bollards and trees are not sticking up in the middle of the bike lane!

Traffic has been properly tamed in this residential street by the design.  Here bikes and cars share the road in safety.

I liked the fact that safety at night was provided by the extra lighting for bikes and pedestrians!

I found myself wondering whether it is something about Dutch politics or their institutions which allow this utterly sensible planning and execution of good design, all of which is continually being improved – we saw a number of bike lanes being dug up for resurfacing.  Perhaps once that first crucial decision has been made – that cycling is a mainstream form of transport – other things fall into place.

These details show a cycle path crossing driveways to houses.  The bike path remains level.  Drivers are reminded to give way by the angled kerb.  The red tar is not just paint.   And I don’t remember seeing a single one of these cycle paths blocked by a parked vehicle!

These double-storey racks were outside a commuter railway station, and I couldn’t resist having a go.  It was extremely easy to park and lock my bike.  From this position you lift the red handle and slide the rack with bike forwards.

Well so much for my holiday snaps.  If you have read this far, please leave a comment, that gives me some idea of who is reading the blog!



About abikerideaday

I like riding my bike about for work and for fun. Having a blog lets me sound off and generally express things. If you like my blog, please pass the address on to other cyclists in the area!
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5 Responses to Dutch Delights

  1. georgie o says:

    That does it, I’m moving to Denmark!
    It is a lovely place there and I think instantly noticeable is how clean everything is. Hope you had a fantastic trip.

  2. georgie this was the Netherlands but I think Denmark is similar…. I’ll check it out next holiday, will you join me?

    • georgie o says:

      Sorry, my brain’s seriously mashed at the moment. Work’s so busy, any information my brain does not need to do my job has been pushed out of my ears!!
      But the feel of your pictures here reminded me of Denmark 🙂
      Any invitation to cycle somewhere new is always welcome, thanks. I do come with a +1 most of the time tho.

  3. Nathan, just one thing. The knooppuntennetwerk, the cycling network covered with numbered points, does not cover “the entire cycle network”. Actually, it’s really just for recreational cycling. It’ll take you by scenic routes to nice places incorporating detours, and to do this it’ll take you down narrow tracks with bumpy surfaces (which are not counted in the total length of cycle-paths in the Netherlands). However, many of the smoothest and most direct cycle-paths used by people who want to get somewhere quickly are not on this network.

    Georgie: The Netherlands and Denmark are two different countries with very different policies. While the Netherlands funds cycling to a greater extent than any other country and through this investment has seen a steadily increasing cycling modal share, Denmark unfortunately spends only around a third as much per capita on cycling and has tried to make up the difference with aggressive marketing. The result has been a consistent drop in cycling since the early 1990s. Sadly, English speaking people do often confuse the two countries, and spurious claims made by the marketing people within Denmark help to obscure the facts about what is going on there.

    Having said that, I think you’d probably have a very nice time if you were to go to Denmark for a holiday. Just don’t expect to see either Dutch quality infrastructure nor so many cyclists as you see in the Netherlands.

  4. Andre Engels says:

    The machine in the fourth picture is not specifically for cycle tracks, they are used for other roads too. For example to clean up the market square after a market.

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