|My mother and the rest of the family|
riding through a nearby village
As a result, we've done several short tours and because we've been doing things for other people I've mostly not been able to take photos or make video for myself or this blog.
However, an opportunity did arise yesterday when I rode to Groningen with Clarence Eckerson Jr. On our study tours we make a point of showing people the worst as well as the best infrastructure and to explain why the less good parts are considered to be a problem. Cherry-picking of a few highlights might be possible in a few hours it takes a lot more time to give an accurate impression of what cycling in the Netherlands is about and we try to do this even with people who have less time than the three days of our usual tours.
|Streetfilms in The Netherlands|
Clarence and I rode between
Assen and Groningen
Here's the controversial bridge. In any other country new infrastructure of this quality this would likely have been the subject of boastful press-releases:
This bridge, which provides a new good quality link for cyclists and drivers alike, is considered to be not quite good enough to win a "cycling city" award. It's one of the things which was used to criticise Groningen in 2011.
And then we return to earth with a bump...
Sadly, the problems in London have continued with more deaths of cyclists on the roads. I have criticized London's absurdly named "superhighways" since they were first announced in 2009 because even then they were obviously not up to the job of creating an environment in which mass cycling could take place in safety. These "superhighways" have a far grander name than anything else, but they are not even remotely close to the quality of infrastructure which is the subject of criticism in the Netherlands. London's more recent plans are equally lacklustre.
For decades, British politicians have pacified cyclists by making vague promises about future change, producing impressive looking press-releases and plans, hyping up projects which divert attention to the wrong things, using lots of words to describe remarkably little, and making endless promises of jam tomorrow while not actually starting the process of change at all.
In the past, the votes of cyclists have been captured by making these vague promises and relying on the short collective memory of cyclists so that people will believe the same story yet again. Due to the frequency with which people give up cycling in the UK, there is a high churn rate amongst cyclists and this has assisted the very short collective memory of what has happened before. The internet offers the potential of allowing younger campaigners to benefit from the experience of those who have already seen these things happen. It has the potential to make the collective memory of campaigners longer.
More people are waking up now to the fact that plans made by London are simply inadequate. The death of 65 cyclists during Boris Johnson's term of office is a high price to pay for incompetence. If you don't click on any of the other links in this post, please do read that last link to a post by Markbikeslondon and this one from an obviously angry Voleofspeed.
There's yet another protest in London today. I urge any of you who are there or near by to try to get to it.
September 2013 update - nothing stands still in NL
The Berlagebrug is being changed. The last two study tour groups which I took to Groningen saw some of the works going on around this area, cycling conditions are improving.
|A still from July taken from the video above compared with the situation in September when the cycle-paths were being reworked.|
|On-road cycle-lane being replaced by off-road cycle-path on|
Nothing stands still in the Netherlands and this is why no-one can "catch up" by doing less.