Perhaps it's a surprise that I'm so enthusiastic about this sign, but I've been looking for years for this most elusive of Dutch cycle path signs, and at last I've found one.
Yes, "Fietsers Afstappen" means, literally, "Cyclists Dismount." And it's combined with nasty big metal fences. Remarkable. When I first saw it, I had a strange thought that maybe I'd merely dreamed about emigrating but that I really still lived in the UK...
Actually, I've been aware of it for a few months, but it's taken this long for me to get around to going there to take a photo. It's not on the route to anywhere for me.
The situation is a bit unusual. A new recreational cycle path crosses the access to the water of the local rowing club. I guess it's going across rowing club land. You can also see it on Google Maps Streetview:
Two years ago I blogged about the relative absense of such signs on the Dutch cycle path network. On the Study Tour Back in 2006 I offered €10 to the first person in our group from the UK who saw one of these signs, knowing that even though we were going to places I'd never been before I had very little chance of losing my money (and yes, I kept my money).
I've now lived in the Netherlands for nearly three years and cycled tens of thousands of kilometres in that time. I know that there are other Fietsers Afstappen signs, as occasionally Dutch people email me their photos of such signs. Often this is accompanied by text describing how "terrible" it is. However, this remains the only permanently mounted "Fietsers Afstappen" sign that I've ever seen with my own eyes.
In Britain, "Cyclists Dismount" signs are a ludicrously frequent feature of cycle facilities. I once started to make a web page showing all such signs in Cambridge, but gave up when I realised how much time this was going to take...
I still think "dismount" signs, all of them, are a blot on the cycling landscape. However, when they are as uncommon as this they make practically no difference at all to cyclists. Unless, of course, you ride past one of the few which exist every day. When there are 29000 km of separated cycle paths, built up over a number of years, there are bound to be some which fall below the expected standard. There are various initiatives in the Netherlands to identify bad cycle facilities and have the problems caused by them addressed. This is one of them.
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