Friday 29 August 2014

Four more examples of how to preserve cycling routes during roadworks. Road Works vs. The Dutch Cyclist

Road-works can seriously disrupt cycling. If cyclists are forced to dismount, to make longer journeys or to ride on roads full of motor vehicles then these inconveniences and dangers could cause people to stop cycling.

Cycling is fragile. It doesn't take many bad experiences to make people give up. If people break the habit of cycling they may not return very quickly. That is why it is important that the integrity of the fine grid of high quality cycling infrastructure required to achieve a high cycling modal share is maintained during road-works.

It is not exceptional or unusual that cyclists should be thought of during road works. These four videos were shot within the last week:

A large junction for cars in Assen is being reconstructed. It's on a busy cycle-route so this has been maintained by building an easy to use temporary route through the construction site.

While works take place on the ring-road of Assen, motorists are required to drive in one direction only on part of the ring road. Driving straight through attracts a €140 fine. This does not affect cyclists because we have a separate cycle-path.

A new roundabout is being constructed in a village. The road is closed to through traffic, but the cycle-path is not so cyclists can make their journeys just as conveniently as usual

Works in the countryside have meant closure of a short length of cycle-path. A lane from the road is taken in order to preserve good cycling conditions. This cycle-path is used almost entirely for recreational use, but it is still important that cycling should not be disrupted even here.

On this blog there are many other examples of how road works can be made not to prevent cycling. See all the "Road works vs. the Dutch Cyclist" blog posts for more videos and photos showing how road works in any situation are made to have as little effect on cyclists as possible.


Koen said...

I recently had a very bad experience with that here in Leusden, NL. See here:

A 4 km stretch of road was closed off for all traffic during the construction of a cycle path, road repairs and other works. The alternative was a 6 km detour, making it 10 kms instead of four. As the cycle path was still open to residents, I kept using it. One day the asphalt was being worked on, so there were many holes in the surface, about a metre wide and 8 cms deep. Just when I thought I'd left all of those behind, I suddenly nearly rode into a deep gully of 30 cm wide and 40 cms deep, all across the road. I barely managed to jump over it, but my rear wheel didn't and the rim was broken. That could have been a very nasty fall. A guy standing near it was laughing, and had done nothing to warn me.

So I filed a complaint and forwarded the repair note, around € 100,-. Yesterday a lady from the municipality called me and basically said it was my own fault because the road had been been closed off to all traffic. All these weeks the road had been used by lots of cyclists, but the municipality has chosen not to take any responsibility for providing a reasonable alternative and lay the blame on me. If one of those elderly people on electric bikes had ridden in, the result would have been disastrous, perhaps even lethal.

In short, I think municipalities have to take their responsibilities for cycling serious. By the looks of it, yours has a less medieval stance on this, David. Any thoughts on this?

David Hembrow said...

Sorry to hear of your experience.

It's as good here as I've described, but that of course does not mean that all gemeentes in the Netherlands have the same policy. There are plenty of places where rather less good decisions are being made. Franeker recently provided a very good example of how to do the wrong thing, for instance.

Constant good news stories are popular, but I don't like the cheering that you find in some places for all things Dutch.

The Netherlands most certainly is not perfect and there are many blind spots.

Cycling is not assured a good future in the Netherlands. It still needs nurturing here, just as elsewhere.