Jackie from Canada sent me this photo, showing the a picture that "was taken on a route which is 'recommended by cyclists' on the bicycle map of a small Canadian town. Pretty sad, eh? We have two main arteries going through our city of about 80,000, which is quite stretched out from east to west. Those two arteries, both recommended as cycling routes - for lack of anything better - have lots of traffic, also very heavy trucks like the one on the photo."
"I guess I should have had a cyclist on it. But in order to get a cyclist on a picture like that, on the 'bikelane', I might have to wait for half an hour or longer. I have a much better chance catching one on the sidewalk!"
Does this look safe ? Does it feel safe ? It's a classic example of how a lack of subjective safety will keep people from cycling. A frightening experience. You have three choices here. Share the road with rather large trucks, ride on the other side of the white line in a too narrow cycle lane with dangerous drains or ride on the pavement. Jackie suggests that last of these three is popular amongst cyclists. I suspect that the most popular option overall is to drive instead of considering cycling.
After that bad example, here's a scene from the North of Assen showing the main road which serves the industrial estate and a motorway junction. This cycle path provides cyclists with a much more pleasant experience despite being next to a busy road. It is very busy at all times, but especially during the morning and evening rush.
A short distance behind the camera is the location of the example of a traffic light which defaults to green for cyclists which was featured on the blog a few months ago. Also this path connects well with the surrounding area (there is a cycle path junction a few metres beyond this photo including a tunnel which crosses to the left side of the road), and the speed limit on the road is 60 km/h / 37 mph so although the cars are closer than is normal at this point they are at least not travelling at speeds that feel unpleasant.
This photo shows a view in the opposite direction. You can see both a gaggle of school-girls travelling home to outlying villages and the 2.5 m wide space between the road and path.
There are more posts about subjective safety, and more comparisons with elsewhere. If you would like to see this for yourself, consider booking a study tour.
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