Sunday 15 May 2011

Assen Study Tour with Australian visitors

On Friday we hosted the Cycling Dutch Style group from Australia on a Study Tour here in Assen. We had a good day for it, covering a lot of the interesting infrastructure:
Entering Kloosterveen, a
new suburb of Assen
We also showed how it's used by everyone. Cycling here is not only by the sort of sporty cyclists that you see everywhere in the world but also for:
People often ask how the design of Dutch infrastructure came about. Concern about the vulnerable played a huge part in this. Not only does the infrastructure have to be safe, and Dutch cyclists are the safest in the world, but to achieve true mass cycling, you also need a degree of subjective safety sufficient that everyone finds that cycling feels safe enough that it's something they want themselves and their family to take part in.

You must also not disregard how important it is for cyclists to be able to make efficient, direct, fast journeys, because if cycling is less efficient than driving then people won't cycle if they're in a hurry. Many people always are "in a hurry". For that reason cyclists have to be prioritized, so that even an average person can make most of their journeys faster by bike.

Guest blogger Mark Wagenbuur came with us for the day, which was a great help with this large group (30 people). He also made the video at the top.

Judy made some photos some of which are below:

Bikes parked with those of local shoppers while we have coffee.

Children going home from school for lunch. The very young ones are accompanied by parents, but the average age at which children are considered to be able to travel independently is about 8 and a half.

Discussing details of the new suburb which encourage cycling over driving.

One of many bridges and cut-throughs which make cycle journeys shorter and more direct than car journeys.

The bicycle road which links the new suburb with the centre of the city. Bikes on this side of the canal, cars on the other side of the canal.

Our waitress at the lunch-stop asked us what we were doing. When we explained, she told us she had taken a holiday in Australia and tried cycling there. While she cycles every day in Assen, she tried it for one day only in Australia and gave up. Apart from the danger of the traffic and lack of subjective safety. Watch her video about how she really doesn't like to wear a helmet.

Simultaneous Green junction. Cyclists go in all directions at once, and while the lights are green for bikes, all motor vehicles have red lights. Complete safety, as well as convenience and speed for cyclists.

Some consternation at a major junction, but of course we pass it on completely separated paths, and in one stage with no barriers to swerve through or delay us further.

We are holding the next public Study Tour in September. If you would like to come along, please get in touch. If you think your local representatives would benefit from being shown how well the infrastructure works here in Assen, and how it has helped to create a cycling culture where everyday people make 40% of all their journeys by bike, please recommend that they come along.


Paul van Belen said...

Once again, a great big thank you to Judy, Mark and David for making a perfect day of learning, cycling and fun.

Also great to meet David and Mark who are heros for a few in group! :)

Cycle safe!

Taliesin said...

See, hi-vis really does work, the people waring it stood out like sore thumbs in every scene. :)

Paul Martin said...

Thanks David, it was an excellent tour. Highly recommended to anyone interested in what actually works when it comes to increasing the bicycle mode share.

Everything else is just window dressing.

Freewheeler said...

"the average age at which children are considered to be able to travel independently is about 8 and a half".
Amazing. I don't think many parents in the UK would be prepared to risk their eight year olds cycling on the average British urban road, sharing it with lorries, white van man in a hurry, and reckless speeding BMW drivers. To name but three components of everyday cycling anxiety.

Ben said...


Stuart Robinson said...

One thing that the video really brought home to me, is that most streets in Assen seem not to have street parking. Is there a general prohibition, or is it technically legal though not widely practiced?

Surely visitors from another city like Groningen are going to drive to visit Asseners?

David Hembrow said...

Stuart: You can park in most places in the city for free. Only a few residential streets have a parking restriction - for instance around the railway station where there was a problem with people using the streets to park.

Assen ties for the cheapest city centre car parking in the Netherlands. There's more on the blog about car parking.