6 thoughts on “Going Dutch

  1. Whilst I’d love for our road infrastructure to match that of the Dutch as you correctly point out systems like that don’t just appear overnight! Maybe if they could borrow from some of the more basic ideas that have been implemented in Holland etc. then cycling here could be more pleasant, traffic calming measures on residential roads that don’t involve speed humps and instead use cobbled “rumble” sections, tighter corners that force drivers to slow down and turning some rat-run backroads into no-through roads for motorised traffic. These not only benefit cyclists as it reduces the volume and danger presented by cars but it can also benefit residents with quieter roads and a place they feel they can actually let their children play outside!

    As for the educational and law side I do think this could have a decent effect if it is implemented properly. Strict liability would certainly go someway towards it as drivers may treat more vulnerable users with a bit more respect and caution if they think “Sorry mate I didn’t see you” wouldn’t get them off. Combine that with proper punishments for those who do bully, injure or kill whilst behind the wheel and you should hopefully start to see an improvement in the general driving standards.

    As I think I’ve mentioned before I’d love to see a TV ad campaign similar to the drink driving and think (motor)bike ones that have already run but related to pedal cyclists. Would probably need to do a few to explain overtaking, riding in primary and the importance of being patient with riders. Maybe if they included some helmet cam footage of a driver pushing past a rider to join a queue and then the cyclist passing again with a caption along the lines of “So who is holding you up?” 🙂

  2. What if London were to go Dutch in stages – and where it’s both most necessary (to enable more cycling by vulnerable road users) & most viable (more space on the roads / lower traffic density). I’m talking school routes & the suburbs. While the vehicular approach works for some adults, it really doesn’t for under-13’s in London traffic conditions.

    Not sure which end of Croydon you two are from, but in my neck o’ the woods (Norwood) there are something like a dozen schools within a mile or two of one another, all joined up by some reasonably direct & spacious back roads which could be either infrastructured or ‘Woonerfed’, and main roads that could, with some ££ and imagination, support seperate infrastructure.

    You could feasibly (from a space & traffic point of view, if not from a £ point of view) Dutch-ize the whole area between All Saints Church, Crown Point & the Crystal Palace triangle. Build decent feeder infrastructure along key main roads – Norbury Hill, South Norwood Hill, Grange Rd, Spa Hill etc. – and you’d have safe routes covering the majority of the catchment of all of them. Auckland Rd & the other back roads between S. Norwood Hill and the railway lines would be another realistic candidate, join up the Harris Academies, South Norwood Lake & Crystal Palace Park; build secure bike parking at the local rail & bus interchanges so that kids coming from further afield can cycle the last mile or two. Build a great network across a fairly small area – or several areas – and slowly build out the feeders as demand is created & political will increased.

    As a bonus, you’d even win friends among non-cyclists – the buses ’round this way are routinely overcrowded with school kids – not surprising, the distances between stations & schools are a long way on foot – and taking some pressure off the bus routes would be good news for everyone.

    Repeat this across half a dozen suburbs at the Zone 3/4 radius (where distances are still smallish but traffic & building density lower than Z1/2) and you’ll be on the way to an orbital network , as well as more modal share & more people aware of the benefits..

    As to how to achieve this, where the money would come from, haven’t the slightest I’m afraid. Don’t get the feeling that Croydon council are massively cycling-friendly compared to (say) Southwark… thoughts?

  3. I’ve talked with Dutch & Danish transport experts, and seen their presentations at various Velo-City conferences, including the last one in Copenhagen. One thing they are quite clear on is that you can’t just ‘copy and paste’ their solutions onto different countries. We do have a different street environnment and culture. Let’s learn from best practice across the world and adapt it to our environment, but not just slavishly copy it.

  4. “chlidren play outside”? Don’t you know the streets are full of illegal immigrant paediatricians? Get a haircut, a shower and an SUV you damn hippy! Think of the children!

    A comment brought to you by the Daily Sun commentariat

  5. ‘I can’t see buildings coming down to make cycle ways in London and certainly not with our current modal share.’

    I think you’ve misunderstood the video.

    The buildings in Utrecht were knocked down to make way for wider roads for motor vehicles. They have since been rebuilt, and the city has largely been made impermeable to cars.

    I am certainly not aware of any Dutch building – in Utrecht or elsewhere – being knocked down to make way for a cycle path.

  6. Based on my limited riding in London and all over the Netherlands I think certainly some trouble spots in London could certainly be reworked dutch style. I sadly made no video, but I found Hofplein in Rotterdam to be a good example. Check out Hofplein in google images. It’s a very busy multi-lane roundabout that also has streetcars, and I pedaled it without breaking a sweat with no prior instruction. Surely Hyde Park Corner or E&C could be made something like this?

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