On the way home from Groningen on Friday I found that the road had been redirected onto the cycle path. Sounds alarming, but actually there was nothing to worry about. Barriers had been erected and a tarmac temporary cycle path had been built so that cycling could continue as normal.
It's quite normal for this to happen. These are some of the other videos I've made of similar things which have happened in the past, some of which have also appeared on this blog tagged with "road works vs. the dutch cyclist":
Cycle-path is dug up
In this example, the road is converted to one-way with temporary traffic lights so that cycle flow is unimpeded.
Riding in a bus lane
Here the cycle-path was being resurfaced so bikes were directed into the bus-lane. This would have created a conflict between bikes and buses had buses not been temporarily banned from their own lane. Bikes are completely incompatible in the same lane as buses and therefore they are never mixed.
Riding on a dual carriageway
Here the cycle-path is again being worked on, so one half of a dual carriageway has been taken for cyclists while motorists use just the other side. Again, it removes any potential conflict which could have occurred had cyclists been expected to use the road with cars and trucks.
Sometimes there are temporary bridges installed, both small and large.
And why does this all happen ? Well, cycling is fragile. If people have bad experiences they may stop cycling. If it is desirable to create and maintain a high rate of cycling then a good degree of subjective safety must also be maintained.
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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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