Saturday 28 November 2009

Nijmegen's big bridge for cyclists

Sometimes a really big link is required to make cycling convenient. This huge cycle bridge in Nijmegen is one of them, complete with escalators to help cyclists take a short cut.

Note the width of the bridge. It is wide enough to prevent conflict between cyclists travelling in opposite directions.

The bridge is known as the "snelbinder". This is a play on words. The elastic bungie straps that many Dutch people have to attach luggage to their bicycles racks are also called snelbinders, and the word suggests that it is something that provides a quick link. The main span is 235 metres long and the bridge reaches 26 metres in height.

There is a wikimedia photo on the left showing the escalator for bicycles. Click for a larger version. There are also some more photos of the bridge here.

Nijmegen is considered to be the oldest city in the Netherlands. The city has an urban population of 280000 people.

I previously featured a video showing town centre cycle parking in Nijmegen. Nijmegen is also the location of the largest bicycle museum in the Netherlands.

There are also escalators for bikes which run beside steps for people. However, the closest I've been able to find to a video showing these in use is this.

This blog post features one of Mark Wagenbuur's excellent videos

Why this isn't so important as you might think Exceptional infrastructure like this is always interesting to see, but what causes people to cycle in large numbers is the very tight network of everyday, but high quality, cycle routes.


Rob said...

Makes the various UK 'Millenium' bridges look rather sickly!!!

Wilfred Ketelaar said...

I cycled this bridge this summer (on my way to my holiday in Wuppertal Germany), to be more precise on the last day of the "Nijmeegse vierdaagse", and it was very busy in the city. It's a very nice bridge, not to steep and a great view over the waters etc.

Read the whole story of my holiday at my website (Dutch only)

ibikelondon said...

And to think we recently got excited by a new bridge for peds and cyclists across the Regent's Canal here in London - it's a tiddler in comparison! Interesting to see people using bykes on escalators - banned on the Underground for being too dangerous... Still, one kilometre of infrastructure at a time I suppose.

McD said...

I see that you still get pedestrians standing in the cycle-way and cyclists cycling all over the place even in The Netherlands. Do they move when you use a bell?

David Hembrow said...

McD: They certainly do mill about. Good on them too, it's better than people having to live in fear of Mr Toad. Note also that the width of the cycle paths means that much of the conflict which could occur does not.

Mark W. said...

@McD, if you mean the man on the cycle path around 2:50, I am afraid that was an (English speaking) tourist... but the Dutch themselves are in the way sometimes too. And as David already pointed out; there is plenty of room to cycle around them.

Anneke said...

Also note, this bikepath is the shortest way from the trainstation to the riverside, also for pedestrians. This means that many people who have to go there don't take the long path through the park, but rather walk on the bikepath. Which, by the way, is allowed in the Netherlands. If there is no footpath the bikepath may be used.

Steven Vance said...

Is there anything different about this escalator than ones used in train stations or airports? I don't see any differences. I guess if bikes can use this escalator, they can use any.

I understand a ban on using escalators because they take up a lot of space (especially in crowded areas). But I don't think I understand a ban of bikes on escalators for safety reasons.

David Hembrow said...

I don't think there is anything special about the escalators. It's actually very easy to take a bike on normal escalators. I've done so many times at Dutch railway stations. You simply wheel it on and turn the front wheel to stop the bike going further. It's resting on steps, not a slope, so it won't try to roll away.

Son of Shaft said...

The bicycle bridge over the A16 motorway and the HSL railline connecting Prinsenbeek with Breda has escalators, normal stairs and lifts to get on and of the bridge. But for some reason the fietsersbond and the locals thought that escalators weren't safe enough and asked/demanded in 2002 on/of ramps to be added. The bridged opened in 2003 and eventually in 2006 the bridge was reopend in 2006 with the ramps.
( pic 18 and 19 are of the bridge)

Ikarus said...

On ramps, bicycles and escalators:

The situation in Prinsenbeek actually was that people preferred the ramps used during construction, so petitioned them to be permanent.

Now for escalators. The escalators are special in so much that they are the widest model normally sold so you can actually fit on them. My memory of the London underground includes ones far too narrow to use safely.

Secondly, with rain those exposed escalators like at Nijmegen, but also found at Prinsenbeek and the Heijenoord tunnel do get a bit tricky, mainly due to the frontwheel slipping.

The basic idea of escalators for bicycles is pretty old though, in 1942 the Maastunnel in Rotterdam opemed with 4 escalators per side and a lift accessible only with permission, the same equipment and situation is there to this day and the tunnel is sttill used by thousands daily.

Anonymous said...

The bridge was actually constructed on pillars in the riverbed nearby and then attached to the railway bridge in its entirety.

This site has some nice pics of the snelbinder being stuck to the old bridge: