Wednesday 3 February 2010

More temporary bridges for cyclists

If people are put off cycling, even temporarily, they may not return. For this reason, much effort is expended to make sure that cyclists are not endangered or inconvenienced by road works in the Netherlands. This film by Mark Wagenbuur shows two different examples of temporary bridges being built to maintain cycle routes in 's-Hertogenbosch.

See the labels below for more bridges, more from Den Bosch, more from Mark and more coverage of what happens to cyclists when there are road works.


Anonymous said...

These are really nice examples although I have to say I found the LF1 near Hoek van Holland needlessly closed for want of a ramp last summer so this thoughfulness doesn't extend throughout.
An example here in the UK is the Wolvercote Viaduct work on the Oxford by-pass. There have been various closures of the canal path and the National Cycle Route NC5 and the information about these closures is poor or just plain non existant. This is a long term project and those not in cars are not be treated with equal respect.
Authorities across Europe would do well to give information about road works in the form of a roadside map showing the options rather than the universal diversion sign intended to serve car drivers only.
Mark, Bristol, UK

MiddleAgeCyclist said...


Nice video.

I am getting really envious of the respect extended to cyclists in Holland and the facilities so provided.

Compare your post to the design and upkeep of a bridge and path along the "National" cycle way Route 6 (near Manchester in the UK) I was on today. No comparison is there?

Now where can I get Dutch lessons?


Frits B said...

Now before more praise is heaped on Dutch officials: couldn't it just be that practical considerations prevailed? Both bridges shown in this video are part of a main route, so closing them would mean that cyclists had to find a different way to get across. That way would certainly be longer and moreover the alternative would probably be overcrowded so might cause trouble elsewhere as well. A temporary bridge for cyclists and pedestrians on the other hand is cheap and keeps everybody happy. Cyclists and pedestrians vote, too (we have local elections coming up).

Anneke said...

Of course, Frits, but if it were for votes only, there'd need to be quite a lot of cyclists to make this profitable, and that's sort of the point David is making with this blog (I think). This bridge is customary to put up BECAUSE of all the cyclists. :)

Frits B said...

Anneke - Like I said, these bridges are put up because it's the most practical solution. They would certainly not be built if there weren't so many cyclists. But David I suppose thinks too highly of the kind hearts of the people responsible.

David Hembrow said...

Frits, why so hostile ? Anneke got it spot on.

I come from a place where such things never happen, for any reason at all. So whatever you might think the motives are, I'm very pleased to see cyclists catered for in circumstances in which in the UK they'd be expected to disappear.

Mark W. said...

I fail to see your point too Frits.

You are right that these are main routes for cyclists. But take the first bridge: just 360 meters (or 400 yards) from it, there is another bridge that was fully operational. Streets exist on both sides of the water, so a detour would have been only about 750 meters or 800 yards, yet the city decided to build a temporary bridge in stead. I don't see why that doesn't deserve praise.

You may argue that this amount of consideration for cyclists is normal in the Netherlands, so it needs no mention. But it isn't quite the norm in many other places in the world and that is why I wanted to show it.

freewheeler said...

Frits misses the point with the comment "They would certainly not be built if there weren't so many cyclists."

Surely the lesson of the Netherlands is that you build the infrastructure, then you get the cyclists.

In Britain, a lot of cycling campaigners seem to think that persuading people to cycle by telling them cycling is both safe and sexy is the way to get change. It's not working. Most people in Britain say they won't cycle because the roads are too dangerous. It's a reasonable perception when you have to share the roads with large numbers of motor vehicles.

For those of us who do cycle the existing infrastructure is mediocre and all too often obstructed. Indeed, when roadworks require drivers to enter the cycle lane, up goes a sign CYCLISTS DISMOUNT, underlining the extent to which cyclists are seen as second-class road users.

The comment that "They would certainly not be built if there weren't so many cyclists" is somewhat ironic in the British context. Motorways were built when levels of car ownership were very low. The surge in British car ownership and dependency is very much connected to the creation of a car-centric transport infrastructure, and the ways in which public transport and cycling have been made very unattractive options.

If we want to see a genuine rise in mass cycling in Britain I think we need to demand the kind of infrastructure shown on this blog. Everywhere I go in London I see streets which could quite easily be converted to first-class cycle routes, if the political will was there to emulate the Dutch model.

Rob said...

Last time I was over there, there was a free ferry off the southern end of Flevoland because the bridge was being worked on. Here there'd be a charge if they even bothered to put on such a ferry!
Different world!