Friday, 11 September 2009
The village of Vries is about 8 km North of Assen. It is a village of fewer than 5000 people. There is no secondary school in the village so most children of secondary school age in the village cycle each day to Assen to go to school.
The school which is the shortest distance from the centre of Vries is on the Groningerstraat in Assen, around 8.5 km (5.25 miles) South. Not all of the children attend this school, some of the others go a few km further into Assen and some ride in the opposite direction to Groningen, about 18 km North of Vries. Some children sometimes ride a bus, but there is no "school bus". The schools do not have drop off zones for parents to deliver children by car, and arriving at school by car is extremely rare. These children predominantly cycle to school, as is the case all across the Netherlands.
The cycle path provided for this route is of very high quality and encourages cycling. I covered this cycle path before. It also forms part of the route of my commute to Groningen.
Even though in this case the driving route and cycling route are the same, cyclists only go through two sets of traffic lights, while drivers go through four. The difference was explained in a previous post.
If you want to encourage a higher cycling rate where you live, this is the standard of provision to aim for. Not only do children cycle in greater numbers here than elsewhere, but the same is also true of the entire population. The degree of subjective safety on cycle paths like those shown in the video is the reason why cycling here is so appealing.
There are many other school travel stories, and don't miss the video of primary school children riding to school.
Note that the google maps imagery of this route is a bit outdated, but what is on streetview is quite good.