Cycling in Belgium/Holland

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by dannyfrankszzz, Apr 25, 2003.

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  1. dannyfrankszzz

    dannyfrankszzz New Member

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    I've just returned from Holland/Belgium and was amazed by the country's provisions for cyclists - both countries are linked with a cycling network that doesn't have to contend with traffic (no doubt this has a very positive effect on the number of casualties with bicycles). It's really quite amazing. There seemed to be very little traffic generally and the whole infrastructure just seemed to be better designed. In addition to this Holland is more densely populated than any other country in Western Europe but they seem to be able to cope with traffic problems.

    Why oh why does the UK not have better provision for this? Why on earth could previous governments not foresee future benefits of implementing a cycling network?
     
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  2. "dannyfrankszzz" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I've just returned from Holland/Belgium and was amazed by the country's provisions for cyclists -
    > both countries are linked with a cycling network that doesn't have to contend with traffic (no
    > doubt this has a very positive effect on the number of casualties with bicycles). It's really
    > quite amazing. There seemed to be very little traffic generally and the whole infrastructure just
    > seemed to be better designed. In addition to this Holland is more densely populated than any other
    > country in Western Europe but they seem to be able to cope with traffic problems.
    >
    > Why oh why does the UK not have better provision for this? Why on earth could previous governments
    > not foresee future benefits of implementing a cycling network?
    >

    They don't want to spend money on transport. Benelux's transport networks work because they have
    high quality, well maintained and extensive motorway, cycle and rail networks. That wouldn't be "New
    Labour", doing something correctly.....
     
  3. Michael MacClancy wrote:
    > None of our four bikes has mudguards. I don't mind getting dirty.

    Nor do I but I mind my bikes getting dirty. Do mind getting wet, though.

    ~PB
     
  4. In message <[email protected]>, Nathaniel Porter
    <[email protected]> writes
    >Benelux's transport networks work because they have high quality, well maintained and
    >extensive motorway

    .... Have you ever been on a Belgian motorway? If you had you wouldn't say they were
    well-maintained, not even by UK standards.

    >, cycle and rail networks.

    You haven't been on Belgian railways either, have you?

    --
    Michael MacClancy
     
  5. "Michael MacClancy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > In message <[email protected]>, Nathaniel Porter
    > <[email protected]> writes
    > >Benelux's transport networks work because they have high quality, well maintained and extensive
    > >motorway
    >
    > .... Have you ever been on a Belgian motorway? If you had you wouldn't say they were
    > well-maintained, not even by UK standards.
    >

    Several times, en route to Germany/Austria. I wouldn't say it was worse by UK standards (though
    certainly by French & German standards). Perhaps it was just untypically good as it was a major
    through route?

    > >, cycle and rail networks.
    >
    > You haven't been on Belgian railways either, have you?
    >

    OK, you got me there!
     
  6. Tom C

    Tom C Guest

    Danny wrote
    > I've just returned from Holland/Belgium and was amazed by the country's provisions for cyclists -
    > both countries are linked with a cycling network that doesn't have to contend with traffic (no
    > doubt this has a very positive effect on the number of casualties with bicycles). It's really
    > quite amazing.

    Great news - I've just booked up with Tulip Cycling http://www.tulipcycling.com/ for five days of
    cycling in Holland in September. Can hardly wait to be whizzing along with so little motor
    traffic about.

    Tom
    ------------------------------------------
    Blog: www.brightfield.org.uk Email: [email protected] "please remove this spambuster" ntlworld.com or
    [email protected] "please remove this spambuster" hotmail.com
    ------------------------------------------
     
  7. [email protected] schreef ...
    > I've just returned from Holland/Belgium and was amazed by the country's provisions for cyclists -
    > both countries are linked with a cycling network that doesn't have to contend with traffic (no
    > doubt this has a very positive effect on the number of casualties with bicycles).

    Funny thing is though that in town, the number of car/bicycle accidents on roads with separate cycle
    paths is significantly higher than on roads where all kinds of traffic share the road - you must
    have noticed quite a few red cycle lanes painted on the road. So the Dutch bicycle advocates
    (www.fietsersbond.nl) are not automatically *for* the separation of cyclist and motorists.

    > It's really quite amazing. There seemed to be very little traffic generally ...

    Where in Holland have you been?

    > ... and the whole infrastructure just seemed to be better designed. In addition to this Holland is
    > more densely populated than any other country in Western Europe but they seem to be able to cope
    > with traffic problems.

    Again: which area did you visit?! I must say that Dutch motorists expect cyclists on the road so
    they pay attention to them. On the other hand, on our Sheerness-Cheddar round trip two years ago the
    UK motorists were mostly very courteous.

    --
    Regards, Marten
     
  8. [email protected] schreef ...

    > They don't want to spend money on transport. Benelux's transport networks work because they have
    > high quality, well maintained and extensive motorway, cycle and rail networks.

    ROFL (in Dutch)! Skip the compliments on the Dutch rail networks. These may be better than the UK
    railways - as I understand this is not a tough exercise. But the number of times the trains do not
    run on time is enormous. Especially of course in the morning and evening rush hours.

    > That wouldn't be "New Labour", doing something correctly.....

    --
    Regards, Marten
     
  9. > The situation with Dutch cycling infrastructure is interesting. It strikes me that, somewhat
    > paradoxically but in common with some other mainland European countries, they have more space than
    > in the UK.
    >
    When, in a pilot experiment, Dutch mopeds were permitted to avoid the bike paths, their accident
    rate dropped by two thirds. No word yet of a similar experiment for bikes.

    Jeremy Parker
     
  10. Graeme

    Graeme Guest

    Jeremy Parker <[email protected]> wrote in news:3EAABC85.4162 @compuserve.com:
    > When, in a pilot experiment, Dutch mopeds were permitted to avoid the bike paths, their accident
    > rate dropped by two thirds. No word yet of a similar experiment for bikes.

    The only time I've cycled in the the Netherlands, on a traditional Dutch style bike around
    Veldhoven, I was very surprised to see just how many mopeds were using the cycle paths. I can't say
    I felt any less safe with them around, although when the first one came flying past me I did get a
    bit of a fright.

    I don't know how the Dutch cope with those upright bikes in such a flat windy place. Once or twice I
    was almost blown to a standstill. Maybe that explains the chunky thighs many of them seemed to have.

    Have fun!

    Graeme
     
  11. [email protected] schreef ...
    > >
    > > The situation with Dutch cycling infrastructure is interesting. It strikes me that, somewhat
    > > paradoxically but in common with some other mainland European countries, they have more space
    > > than in the UK.
    > >
    > When, in a pilot experiment, Dutch mopeds were permitted to avoid the bike paths, their accident
    > rate dropped by two thirds. No word yet of a similar experiment for bikes.

    The pilot experiment has recently become law. Within town limits mopeds are forced to use the road.
    The accident rate is still significantly lower than it used to be. Why would one want the bikes off
    the bike path too?

    --
    Regards, Marten
     
  12. [email protected] schreef ...

    > I don't know how the Dutch cope with those upright bikes in such a flat windy place. Once or twice
    > I was almost blown to a standstill.

    Most Dutch ride their bikes on distances way under 5 kilometers so the wind - although there - does
    not pose much of a problem. The upright bikes are very comfortable and need little maintenance
    (although some could with a bit more maintenance than the neglect they're getting but that's a
    different matter altogether).

    > Maybe that explains the chunky thighs many of them seemed to have.

    You like thighs, don't you? ;-)

    --
    Mvg, Marten
     
  13. Graeme

    Graeme Guest

    Marten Hoffmann <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:

    >> Maybe that explains the chunky thighs many of them seemed to have.
    >
    > You like thighs, don't you? ;-)

    Not the ones I saw then! Large tree trunks looked more elegant :)
     
  14. Graeme wrote:

    > I don't know how the Dutch cope with those upright bikes in such a flat windy place. Once or
    > twice I was almost blown to a standstill. Maybe that explains the chunky thighs many of them
    > seemed to have.
    >
    > Have fun!
    >
    > Graeme

    One way of coping is to fit aerobars to the old black Gazelle, a not unusual sight in the country 8)

    --
    Marten
     
  15. >Why oh why does the UK not have better provision for this? Why on earth could previous governments
    >not foresee future benefits of implementing a cycling network?
    Because there are hardly any British cyclists? Because we have a very vocal and active cyclist
    "union" (Fietsersbond)? It's not all roses & sunshine here though; the bikepaths are compulsory, and
    not all of them are to the same high standard you obviously enjoyed. More and more people are using
    cars, mopeds are generally highly tuned, and can easily reach 40-50mph (and are VERY loud). And the
    Dutch railway system has been in steep decline ever since we followed British Rail's shining
    example... (you'd think we'd learn something from other people's mistakes?) And don't get me started
    on our taxi drivers (or the number of unlit bikes going the wrong way on unlit cycle roads)! And
    yes, quite a few people around here think you're crazy or destitute if you don't own a car.

    Mark van Gorkom.
     
  16. >Why oh why does the UK not have better provision for this? Why on earth could previous governments
    >not foresee future benefits of implementing a cycling network?

    Because when they did it, as they have in Stevenage, Harlow and Milton Keynes, nobody rode bikes. I
    remember when Stevenage was the model to the whole world (including the Netherlands) as Stevenage's
    Chief Engineer, Eric Claxton, toured the world giving talks about it. There's one such talk in the
    procedings of the first Velo-City conf', held in 1981.

    It's not Stevenage, Harlow, and Milton Keynes which are Britain's cycling cities, it's Cambridge,
    Oxford and York.

    The backlash is now starting on the new generation of bike facilities, as traffic engineers are
    belatedly discovering, though they are too confused to know why, that the only result is that
    everybody now hates them.

    JeremyParker
     
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