Please note that this video has explanatory captions which are only visible if viewed on a desktop computer. You will not benefit from the explanation if you view on a mobile device.
The video shows one of the simultaneous green junctions in Assen. At junctions like this, which are increasingly common in the North of the Netherlands, cyclists travelling in all directions are given green lights at once and can cross in any direction including diagonally. While cyclists cross, the junction holds all motor vehicle traffic behind red lights. Therefore all conflict between bikes and cars is removed.
|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.|
Note how even large trucks can pass through the junction without causing any concerns to cyclists because cycles are separated from motor vehicles in both time and space.
|Disabled person on a tricycle leads|
the charge diagonally across a large
SG junction in Groningen
|Very large junction in Groningen|
with successful SG treatment
|Very small example in Assen, equally|
successful. SG junctions scale well
to all sizes and do not have to take
up a lot of space. See several
examples on our study tours
If you were to ride on the road then you would on average have to wait longer than if you used the cycle path. It is quite clear where the desire is: cycle paths sometimes have barriers to stop drivers from using them but roads don't have barriers to stop cyclists. There are many examples on this blog of places where cycling infrastructure improves speed for cyclists vs. drivers.
The video was made from the North East corner of the junction in this map, pointing the camera to the West:
Note how the four corners of this junction are each different from one another. Simultaneous Green junction design works at asymmetrical junctions and it scales from joining very small roads (one example is Assen is a single lane for cars with contra-flow cycle-lane to very large junctions. Click for larger map
The number of cyclists shown in the video is typical for an average morning in April. I tried counting, but it's rather difficult to do so. There are in any case over a hundred bikes in the first five minutes. Some times of day are more busy, some less so. Assen is quite a small city, with only 65000 residents, but on average they make over 70000 journeys each day between them.
While this video and blog post illustrates one junction, the pleasant conditions it creates for cyclists are not atypical but the norm. There is no need for everyday cycling to be a competition for inadequate space or a fight for dominance. It is not necessary that cycling should be about being strong enough (physically and mentally) to take on the roads, nor is it necessary that cyclists should need to be confident enough to "take the lane" to prevent larger vehicles from causing danger. Cycling does not have to be an extreme sport. Rather, for most trips, most of the time, cycling should merely be a way of getting to your destination, quickly, safely and without stress. That's what it's like here.
Finally, if you're thinking that this road is much wider than roads in your own country, you're probably wrong. This street, Groningerstraat, is actually the same width as a road in Cambridge in the UK which is supposedly "too narrow" for proper cycle provision. The excuse of "we don't have enough room" is rarely, if ever, actually true. The Dutch find space for bikes, no matter what the width of the road. In fact, this junction itself shows an example of this. The Western side is more cramped than the Eastern side, but both sides work as well as they can for cyclists, given the available space.
It's perhaps of interest that transforming this junction cost just €32K from the cycling budget. Transforming the entire road was not very expensive either by the standards of other countries. Not only is the Dutch budget for cycling larger than in other countries, it's also spent far more efficiently than in other countries. As well as matching the expenditure level, the efficiency also needs to be matched if you want to "catch up" with the Dutch.
This new video shows the same junction as at the top of this post from the point of view of a cyclist travelling from the South West to the North East of the junction.
More examples of what works.