|Inset: Wikipedia example of a cycle path. The big picture shows it is not used anymore, a bad example of an equally bad situation, and not a good representation of Maastricht cycling infrastructure.|
A strange picture of a Maastricht cycle path can be found on the Dutch Wikipedia page ‘Fietspad’ (cycle path), see inset in the larger picture above. A large yellow chunck of concrete is blocking almost the entire width of the cycle path. Weeds are growing in abundance and the surface seems a bit neglected. When you look at the picture you could come to the conclusion that the Maastricht cycling infrastructure does not have the quality we are used to in the Netherlands. But if you were to actually visit the site of the picture it becomes clear that this particular stretch of cycle path has been out of use for a long time. In yellow painted lines it is clear that a diversion was created. Granted, it is a strange situation that has apparently been like this for some years now (the yellow paint has already faded) but it is clear that this selectively cropped picture is not representing Maastricht cycling infrastructure in a good way. Such a delibrate misrepresentation of Dutch cycling infrastructure is something which is seen more often.
Some weeks ago I had a meeting in the Maastricht University Hospital. Some of the people attending arrived by car, another person and myself arrived by OV-Fiets rental bike from the central railway station. After the meeting we decided to all go to the city center to have a drink and something to eat. I decided to film the ride. Judge for yourself how ‘bad’ the state of the cycling infrastructure of Maastricht really is.
|Ride from the Maastricht University Hospital to the center of the city.|
We arrived in a restaurant in the city center only 10 minutes after we had left the hospital. We ordered a drink and waited for the others. They had to walk a considerable distance to the parking garage. Pay and then find their way through rush hour traffic. For us the ride was 2.5 kilometers. As usual in the Netherlands, the route for the cyclist is more direct. In fact the distance was twice as much for a car. The main arterial streets in Maastricht are quite congested and they had to wait at a number of traffic lights. Once they finally arrived in the city center they had to go to a parking garage there and walk to the café. We had all anticipated they would arrive well after us cyclists. But nobody would have guessed that they were to arrive 35 minutes later! We had just finished our second drinks… No wonder that many of the Dutch are so keen to cycle everywhere.