Cambridge Cycling Campaign conducted a study tour of the Netherlands from 14-17th August 2006 to see how things are done in that country. We rode within built-up areas as well as covering distances between them. Cycling Officers from the City and County Councils joined us on our trip.
It is no exaggeration to say that, literally everywhere we went, cyclists were thought about and catered for.
Of course, not everything was perfect, but in general the quality of provision was uniformly high, an order of magnitude better than that found in the UK, reflecting the political and financial support for cycling present there. No wonder the Netherlands have such high rates of cycling.
We were given a presentation on ‘Cycling in the Hague’ by one of the cycling officers employed by the Municipality of The Hague. During the discussion which followed, there was mention of the Fietsersbond web site listing cycling facilities they consider poor, and the Copenhagen City Council video about cycle facilities.
Newsletter 68 will feature full reports from our trip and more photographs.
You can click on any photograph to open a larger version in a new window, or click on a # to make a link point.
Photos from the trip
# Our party, setting off.
# A wide, smooth cycleway greeted our arrival.
# Cycleway along the coast.
# Poor quality cycle parking – not everything in the Netherlands is perfect! However, the cycle parking is notable for its sheer scale and here for the fact that it exists purely for people visiting the beach.
# ‘Pole in the cycleway’ – obstructions are so rare that they are signed.
# The pole – marked with a white line for visibility, and centrally located …
# … so that cycles can pass in two directions unproblematically.
# ‘Elephants’ feet’ crossings are common and make clear to drivers that there is a cycleway crossing.
# A reflective post accompanying a vehicle temporarily having to use the path.
# Another rare pole in the cycleway.
# A sign stating that the surfacing wasn’t up to expected standards (basically a marker that work will be carried out in future to rectify).
# Excellent cycle parking near our first tea stop.
# A direct and smooth crossing across a sideroad: no ‘give way’ signs or obstructions for cyclists here.
# Using the crossing was a pleasure.
# 30km/hr (c. 20mph) zones were common.
# Residential cycle parking.
# Another smooth and direct crossing, with no obstructions, though cyclists must give way.
# Surface quality was generally extremely good, as here.
# Motorists waited while cyclists crossed cycleways at sideroads – cyclists have the same priority as on the road.
# A crossing across a petrol station, again with usual on-road style priority.
# On-road cycle lane: reasonably wide.
# Wide enough to deal with the threat of opening car doors, though really a gap ought to be provided.
# This cycle lane gives cyclists a head-start. Usually the green light would come on sooner for cyclists too so that they get a head start due to that. This particular junction had just the one light for cyclists and drivers, but that’s pretty uncommon.
# The sign means ‘cycles may turn right on red’ – the equivalent of what we need opposite Emmanuel College in Cambridge.
# Another standard, direct crossing.
# A staffed cycle park (taken late in the day so was emptied by then).
# Parking charges shown.
# Cycleway by the road, designed to a fast design speed.
# Heading to an off-road track now, small but comfortable bumps to deter fast speeds at a crossing, rather than a stop and give-way.
# Good-quality construction was common. The edge of this intra-urban cycleway had an extra edge. Partly this prevents vegetation overgrowth; it was cycleable but is mainly to warn the cyclist that they are drifting off the edge of the path.
# David and Martin.
# David and Clare.
# A nice wide track!
# Enjoying our first evening meal.
# About to set off the next morning.
# Cycle lane marked out unobtrusively with white bricks.
# Almost 3m wide.
# Sculpture by the coast.
# No pedestrian buildouts here.
# A smooth merger onto the road.
# Oh dear … a puncture.
# Advance notification of …
# … a dotted painted surface to slow down cyclists where pedestrians cross – again, no barriers here.
# Stopping for pancakes.
# A set of tour bikes from another party.
# Intra-urban cycleway, well-used, and plenty of crossing space.
# At the end of a cycleway, three directions possible.
# A majority of crossings like this sadly didn’t automatically detect cycles and require push-buttons. This one across a main road had a rather too short crossing time.
# Through the woods.
# At the monarch’s palace
# Cycleway crossing a main road: zero obstructions present.
# Partially-segregated cycleway.
# Meeting another crossing.
# Proper, flush kerb. No bumps here!
# Cycle parking outside Den Haag Centraal station. 2,500 spaces provided, but this is being increased to 6,000.
# Cycling through the Hague. Cycle parking on the right.
# Pedestrianised area. (We weren’t clear whether cycles were allowed or not.)
# James and Paul discussing the design of these ‘staple’ cycle parking stands outside the equivalent of the Guildhall in the Hague.
# Virtually all bikes were upright and hadn’t fallen down. This may be due substantially to the back wheel lock that many Dutch bikes have.
# Judith, using the attended cycle parking, being given a ticket attached to the bike.
# The attended cycle park, right outside the Guildhall entrance.
# Clare, talking to one of the officials at the Hague Guildhall.
# Clare, talking to the manager of the attended cycle park.
# Paul and others entering the staff cycle parking at the Guildhall.
# Down the cycle-friendly ramp.
# One part of the underground staff cycle parking, representing about one-fifth of the total space.
# Using the underground staff cycle parking. The racks were quite close together so a little difficult to get the bike in.
# Fleet bikes for employees.
# Our group meeting the officials from the Hague.
# Looking up into the building, with public art on display.
# A warm welcome was provided to us at the Visitor Centre.
# We were given a presentation on ‘Cycling in the Hague’ by one of the cycling officers, which included round-table discussion drawing on the comparisons between Cambridge and towns in the Netherlands.
# The group and our hosts.
# Back up the ramps. Note the gentlemen were wearing suits.
# The label put on a bike in the attended cycle park.
# Underground cycle park at the station.
# Getting on a train – space was made for bikes on all trains, and carriages gave a clear indication of which door to use.
# Hybrid cycle track – on-road but partially segregated.
# A track for use only by cycles, scooters and … tractors!
# A speed bump, which James in a car found did slow down vehicles …
# … despite being very comfortable for cyclists.
# Note the cycle lanes of proper width, but cars may enter to overtake.
# Traffic calming measure, with a cycle gap.
# Signage for cyclists.
# Roots growing up through a cycleway, causing cracks, were relatively rare.
# Scooters were allowed to use cycle tracks, but care was taken with such vehicles travelling at low speeds.
# A crossing in a suburban area.
# Note that vehicles must give way to the cycle track, not the other way round as in the UK.
# Again, the undulating ramps, this time used to slow down any errant scooters.
# An ‘educatieve-route’. This is not a ‘safe route to school’, but instead a touristic route which goes past a lot of schools. All schools have a safe route to them and it’s not in any way special for this to be the case.
# The square outside where we stopped for tea. Cars or lorries were not allowed to use this area.
# Our tea stop.
# Cycle parking within a business park area.
# Clare observing how cars leaving the roundabout must give way for cycles leaving the cycle lane.
# The orange ‘R’ sign is a diversionary route sign for cyclists.
# Cycle parking outside another station, with advertising attached by some entrepreneur!
# Cycle track alongside an urban road. As usual, smooth and good visibility, segregated from pedestrians.
# On-road cycle lane.
# Crossing a side-road. As usual, no ‘cyclists dismount’, ‘cyclists give way’ or other signs common in England.
# Suburban cycleway. Note that the driveway goes down between the road and cycleway, not been the cycleway / pavement and the property.
# Hybrid track – on road but with an ‘off-road’ feel to it.
# Two-way cycleway beside a busy road – unusual and the lack of any protection against vehicles at higher speeds means this is something we would not necessarily wish to see replicated in England.
# Cycle lanes on both sides of the road – again the cycle lanes, not the two-way traffic lane is of the correct width. Cars may enter the cycle lanes but generally keep central.
# Cycle track alongside the road. 20mph speeds were, as usual, possible here. Note again the drive way rises to the cycle track, not the other way round, so that the cycleway is entirely level.
# Rather a lot of signage at this set of works.
# Cyclists were given roadspace while a new cycleway was being constructed.
# One cyclist here was using a wheelchair adapted for use as a cycle.
# Observing the routes available through the woods.
# Through the woods. The roadway on the right is actually a dirt track with poor surfacing. The cycleway remained smooth.
# A trappist monastery at the Belgian border. Large numbers of bikes parked.
# Enjoying beer and cakes.
# At the end of the day, with most bikes now having left.
# Cycling campaigners measuring road widths!
# Roundabouts were relatively rare, but where they existed, cyclists were well catered for, and drivers behaved courteously.