In this video:
- 0:00 : Groningen wants to become the most cycle friendly city in the Netherlands once again.
- 0:10 : But is the city really so cycle friendly ? The local government has much work to do to get the title.
- 0:20 : "For pensioners, the new Berlage bridge is a test like the Alpe d'Huez". There are many complaints.
- 0:30 : Fietsersbond representative: "The incline is too steep"
- 0:45 : Further, consideration is needed that the most dangerous junction in the Netherlands is within Groningen. The crossing by the Rodeweg, Boterdiep and Korreweg (see earlier post about this junction)
- 1:00 : Interview with people talking about the danger of the junction. "People come along quickly and it's difficult to see"
- 1:15 : It's not obvious and therefore it's dangerous. "I need eyes in the back of my head and in both sides", "students come along here in a hurry and don't look. The junction is dangerous."
- 1:40 : In 2002, Groningen got the award Fietsstad 2002, but how about this time ?
- 1:52 : Fietsersbond representative: "I think it's impossible this time"
- 1:57 : The Fietsersbond also see problems in other areas of the city, including by the railway station.
- 2:00 : Local politician: "I've not heard of this problem of the bridge being too steep but I'll take a look"
|A test like the Alpe d'Huez ? Read more discussion of this bridge including a video of riding over it.|
|How space is allocated on that|
"problem" bridge. This would be
cause for celebration in any
The correct decision was made
's-Hertogenbosch has a few lower cycling modal share than does Groningen. It's actually relatively low for any city in the Netherlands, nothing special indeed. However, what 's-Hertogenbosch has done in recent years is to make bold plans and to achieve real growth. For this reason it is far better than 's-Hertogenbosch won the prize than Groningen. Groningen has more cycling than any other place in the Netherlands, indeed than any other place in the world. But the city also has too much dated and lack-lustre infrastructure. Groningen has work to do.
Meanwhile, exaggeration continues elsewhere
In Britain and America, things are entirely different. For example, in Dumfries and Galloway with a cycling modal share of approximately 3%, the local transport strategy says "Overall, cycling and walking infrastructure is considered to be of a good standard and the council consequently considers that only incremental improvements to existing networks will be required in the short term".
Meanwhile, in the USA, some people think that Portland "has a great infrastructure" and that with a 4% modal share for bikes, it is second only to Amsterdam. The same "second to Amsterdam" claim was made by Cambridge in the 1990s.
To make such a claim is absurd for both these cities. There's nothing wrong with positive speaking. However, they some grounding in fact is needed. While the Dutch are modest and have frustrating reluctance even to call Groningen a "cycling city" even though it has the highest cycling modal share in the world, other places in the world are keen to exaggerate relatively small achievements.
For a model of what is possible, the best place to look remains the Netherlands. Campaigners in the Netherlands set their sights high and rather than hyping their cities they make clear what is not good enough and work towards fixing it. Campaigners elsewhere must also make sure that they don't set their sights too low and that they don't overly praise actions taken which not entirely positive. Doing so results in a distinct lack of progress, as seen in most other places in the world.