Assen has quite a few one way streets. These are used to stop roads from being through routes for cars, and work to prevent rat-running in residential streets and keep the centre of the city empty of motor vehicles.
However, there isn't a single one which doesn't allow cyclists to travel in the opposite direction.
They all appear in areas where there is relatively little traffic and the speed limit is always 30 km/h ( 18 mph ).
Signage to allow this is as simple as an "Uitgezonderd Fietsers" ("Except Cyclists" - sometimes using a picture of a bike) beneath the one way or no entry sign. It works very well, and allows cyclists to make those shorter and more convenient journeys which have to be possible in order that cycling has an advantage over driving.
Back in Cambridge where we used to live, a debate still rages about allowing cycling in the opposite direction on one-way streets. It really is time that the UK in general got to grips with the benefits of cycling and started to encourage it. However, note that what does not happen here is relaxation of one-way restrictions on busy streets. These one-way restrictions are used to make the roads un-useful for through traffic and relatively empty of motor vehicles while allowing cyclists still to make direct journeys using the entire road network.
The pictures shown were all taken within 300 metres of each other, but there are many examples in other parts of the city. To see the way this city makes cycling a preferred means of travel for most people, consider coming on one of our Study Tours in 2009.
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The less positive stuff What not to do if you want a cycling "revolution" - Long list of interventions and policies which are not helpful. Copy the best examples from the Netherlands - a short list summarising the above. Important to copy the best examples, not just anything "Dutch". Bear in mind that the Netherlands is not perfect. Shared Space - this much hyped idea simply does not work well. It disenfranchises the vulnerable and claims of safety are exaggerated. Don't confuse the concept with far more successful nearly car free streets. Shared Use Paths designed to be used by pedestrians and cyclists together. These rarely work well because the two user groups are too different and it leads to conflicts. They are not built in the Netherlands (but cycle access to pedestrianized zones is good). Strict (or presumed) liability - If you think this is an important part of why people cycle in the Netherlands then it is probably not what you think it is. Helmets - one of several ways of scaremongering about the supposed dangers of what is actually a very safe means of transport
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Experience for yourself how policy and infrastructure in Assen and Groningen have led to the high cycling modal share in this area:
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A cyclist in a cycling family living in the capital of the cycling province of the world's greatest cycling country.
I was born in the UK, lived for over 8 years in New Zealand and have lived in the Netherlands since 2007.
I organise cycling infrastructure study tours, run an online bicycle shop, arrange cycling holidays and write a popular blog about cycling.
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