Of course, such a reservation needs to be adequate in size. The crossing shown above, in a residential area in Assen by the local shops, allows two cyclists travelling in each direction to pass each other, and is long enough for a bicycle with trailer to stop safely in the middle. it also has a completely separate crossing for pedestrians, and of course both the cycle and pedestrian paths on both sides of the street. The speed limit for cars is 50 km/h (30 mph).
Here is another view of the crossing:
Open in Google Maps - note that cyclists don't suffer from a "pinch" effect due to cars because there are separate cycle-paths either side of the crossing.
|When we first moved to Assen, there|
was no central reservation at this
crossing. Image from a leaflet
explaining the change
However, that this is very common doesn't imply that such crossings have existed forever. Actually, this one was retrofitted quite recently.
|Back of the same leaflet|
explaining what was
being done to improve
aimed at school children
The requirement that motorists have to swerve could be dangerous to cyclists due to a pinching effect if cyclists were on the street but because there are parallel cycle-paths on both sides of the street there is no danger at all.
See also videos showing the same crossing in use by hundreds of school children.
This can be seen as something which is easily "lost in translation" when implemented elsewhere because while the same concept might appear elsewhere, the implementation is completely different. For example, here's the same concept as implemented in Cambridge, UK:
|Crossing of Madingley Road in Cambridge, UK. This is one of several roads in Cambridge which are unpleasant to cycle along and which can be difficult to cross safely by bicycle. We used to do this with our children, but this made us very much the exception as most people would not see this as a safe thing to do with their children. It's important for campaigners to realise that they are part of a self-selected group. Conditions like this are a reason why keen cyclists stop when they have children.|
What's more, the speed limit here is much higher than that of the Assen example, at 40 mph (64 km/h) and this is a major arterial road into Cambridge so there are usually far more cars driving here than you find at the equivalent looking crossing in Assen.
When we crossed at this point with our children it was difficult to accompany them and cross the road safely. What's more, when I pulled a child trailer across this junction it didn't fit, so I had to make the crossing in one step.
It's an example of something extremely inadequate being installed in completely the wrong situation. The closest equivalents we have in Assen would be this or this.
Another view of the crossing of Madingley Road. It's similar to Huntingdon Road a little further North and many other roads in and around Cambridge. These are part of the reason why Cambridge's cycling is limited to a demographic group. View Larger Map
If your only reference to good infrastructure design comes from books, websites and looking at Google Maps, then it is very easy to misinterpret what is seen on the ground in the Netherlands. This is why it is important that planners from English speaking countries should see for themselves what good infrastructure actually looks like, and see it in the country which has the best standards. Referring only to what is in, for example, the UK can only result in copying from bad examples. It is to try to help to prevent this problem that we organise study tours.
See other examples of ideas "lost in translation", enabling of crossing the road, and perhaps most important, examples of what works in the Netherlands.