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.
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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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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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