In September, six people from Britain came on the September study tour. Each time we've done a tour it has been different and this was no exception. Our knowledge grows so we have more to tell, but that's not the only reason. The Netherlands is not standing still and the infrastructure improves between each tour. Approximately half of everything seen in the first tour has been replaced, resurfaced or redesigned since the first tour that we ran here. There is no option to stand still when things change so rapidly.
|Older residential streets - demonstrating how they do not operate as rat-runs because of a one-way system for cars which prevents through traffic. Also the low speed limit (30 km/h) and noisy road surface help to keep residential streets as places for people. Cyclists can of course use all these streets in any direction so they also provide an example of unravelling of cycling routes from motor routes.|
|Heading out of the centre on a wide & smooth cycle-path. Near 100% Separation of cyclists from cars is vital to achieve the high degree of subjective safety necessary to get the whole population cycling, and without the whole population it is impossible to achieve a high cycling modal share.|
|The most extreme woonerf in Assen. This is a residential development from the late 1970s / early 1980s. These homes are still popular, but modern developments look different. Woonerven are not designed to operate as through routes for cyclists or drivers.|
|Cycle-path between Assen and an outlying village. Resurfacing work due to tree root damage.|
|In a modern development a wide network of cycle-paths give cyclists an advantage of more direct routes than can be taken by car.|
|The school run is always interesting. Wide cycle-paths like this are the necessary infrastructure which makes it possible for young children to cycle unaccompanied. No amount of training can achieve this without the infrastructure.|
|Routes used by school children always have litter bins which collect most of the rubbish.|
|The width of cycle-paths in this area makes it possible for a group to stop and look at the bins without causing much of a problem.|
|A cycle by-pass. Four kilometres long and four metres wide, this cycle-path allows high speed cyclists to avoid going through the centre of the city, and also connects some of the outlying suburbs.|
Cycling modal shares correlate well with the degree of investment in cycling and the Dutch spend more on this than any other nation. €30 per person per year. However, it has been shown that even with what some people might consider to be "gold plating" of the infrastructure, cycling infrastructure is cheaper to build than not to build. Any nation could do this and any nation could reap the same rewards.