National Bike Challenge Update: Streets.mn is currently in 67th place (of 92) and MNDOT is 44th. It’s not to late to join and show your support for streets.mn. EVERY rider counts. Even if you only ride one day per week it will help.
In April I had the opportunity to spend a week in The Netherlands focused almost entirely on motor, bicycle, pedestrian, and disabled infrastructure. And food.
I began with a few days in and near Amsterdam, riding, taking photos, watching, and talking to people. Special thanks to Workcycles for letting me use Perminator while I was there. I cannot say how sad I was on having to return him
After returning Perminator I headed to Assen for a three day infrastructure study tour with David Hembrow. David’s knowledge, humor, and passion for bicycling is infectious and priceless. I recommend that anyone interested in good bicycling infrastructure join one of his study tours.
Within The Netherlands there is a wide variety of infrastructure quality, mostly due to age. Newer infrastructure in Assen is much safer feeling and comfortable than older infrastructure in Amsterdam or Rotterdam. But there’s more than just age as very new infrastructure in Kloosterveen, which I’ll show in a few days, leaves a bit to be desired. The Dutch aren’t afraid to experiment and some experiments don’t get repeated.
Today’s photos are all from around Amsterdam. Many readers are likely familiar with the story of how Amsterdam in the 1960’s, like many cities around the world, had become clogged with cars and people killed by people driving cars. This led to the ‘Stop The Child Murder’ movement that is largely responsible for the bicycle infrastructure throughout The Netherlands today and their low rate of traffic fatalities.
For some perspective, some of the facilities in Amsterdam and in these photos dates to these earlier days and is, as many Dutch say, the worst infrastructure in The Netherlands.
There you have some of the best and worst of Amsterdam.
Many of the bicycle facilities above are designs that have been discarded by Dutch engineers and planners as not sufficient in real or subjective safety or in comfort. Yet these very same designs have just been touted by U.S. engineers in the recent AASHTO recommendations as the latest and greatest. This would be like Verizon introducing a 1985 cell phone as the latest and greatest.
Someone should be pushing AASHTO and others to carefully study Dutch infrastructure, learn why it is the way it is, and apply this knowledge to the U.S.
To steal a bit from Winston Churchill, Dutch bicycling infrastructure is the worst there is, except for all of the others.
Streets.mn is a non-profit and is volunteer run. We rely on your support to keep the servers running. If you value what you read, please consider becoming a member.