Thursday 11 September 2008

Rush hour

Note that captions on the video are only visible on computers, not on mobile devices.
This is a short video showing part of the rush hour traffic near our home in the suburbs of Assen.

It's like this every morning and evening. In fact, as this video is rather murky and doesn't have the 360 degree vision you need to see what is really going on in all directions at once, real life is somewhat more impressive than what you see here.

This is just one small area. There are many other busy cycling routes.

The large bridge, carrying the dual carriageway over the cycle paths, was built in order to make cyclists feel safe and so that they have direct and fast journeys. Until last year, there was a flat road junction here, and the bicycle roads were part of a direct driving route to the centre of the city. No longer. Drivers are now sent along that dual carriageway, through a few sets of traffic lights and by a detour to the centre. The direct route is for bikes.

Other, later blog posts explain a lot more about what is happens in this location and why. See also products for cycling with pets.


MattP said...

I see no Give Way signs or markings as cycle lanes intersect.

I assume this is because personal injury would result from inconsiderate cycling, unlike driving a car where biggest vehicle wins through 'might has right' attitudes, and the isolation from responsibility that comes with being insde a metal box.

I know that if UK Highway engineers ever got this close to implementing real cycle infrastructure, they'd put signs up and lane markings all over the place!

What is the 'I'll Sue Your A**' culture like in the Netherlands when it comes to bike to bike incidents?

David Hembrow said...

There are actually a few give-way markings. They are visible about 50 seconds into the video on a cycle path from the right and look like white triangles.

For any junction without such markings you give way to traffic from the right (the same applies whether you are driving or cycling or whether what you are giving way to is a cyclist or a driver). It works very smoothly.

There is a chance of being sued, and everyone has third party insurance here as part of their home insurance. However, there are clearly not many claims as our insurance cost overall for theft, property (fire etc.) and the third party insurance is about a third of what it was for just property and contents in the UK.

Sarah said...

That is awesome! I wish more rush hours in the U.S. looked like that.

I don't think I saw a single person with a helmet on, though. Do people just not wear helmets there? The vast majority of the cycling I do is commuting like the folks in this video, but I would stick out like sore thumb since I insist on wearing a helmet; it just seems foolish to me to take a risk of not wearing one.

David Hembrow said...

Sarah, people do not wear helmets here. There is nothing remotely foolish about this. Cyclists in this country are 17 times safer than American cyclists per km travelled.

The Netherlands has made the environment safe for cyclists instead of moving the onus onto cyclists to protect themselves by the not actually very effective measure of wearing a helmet.

The result is that people cycle around 30x so often as in the US.

Please read this post for more information.

Unknown said...

@David: oh yeah, and you couldn't see a single obese person in the vid. :)
@Sarah: Blaming the risk on the one who suffers from it, instead of the one, who causes it, is not the solution.
It is the problem.

januhhh said...

I'm currently staying in Assen and I simply can't believe it! This is Paradise on Earth when it comes to cycling. Yesterday, I covered anything between 30-50km, simply cycling with no specific destination and enjoyed every single second of it. The junction in the video? Went through there a couple of times because I tend to lose my way when I'm not focused ;).