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-   -   The facts about cycling in Holland (http://www.bikeforums.net/vehicular-cycling-vc/857910-facts-about-cycling-holland.html)

hagen2456 11-23-12 03:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wsbob (Post 14977059)
Hagen, thanks for answering the question...I'm reading from your answer, that to your knowledge, neither the Netherlands or Denmark generally prohibit by law, people that bike, from riding on the road with motor vehicles, where bike lanes, cycle tracks and other bike specific infrastructure are near to a given road; and that significantly so, it's social contract, rather than law, that encourages people riding bikes to use bike lanes, cycle tracks and whatnot.

Sorry I didn't answer you immediately. But yes, the law tells cyclists to use the bike paths where they're present. But your description below of the abilty to use them at high speed in most places outside the very city cores is correct. The thing is: Bike paths are not a way the motorists figured out to get us out of the way. They were the result of the cyclists demanding them. And they're a blessing, and what keeps hundreds of thousands (and in the Netherlands, millions) biking.

Quote:

Your description is, from news, people's descriptions of riding over there, and so on, the general impression I've had of freedom to use the road, people that bike are given in Netherlands and Denmark. I was skeptical, reading the claim made that cyclists over there were somehow compelled to confine their rate of speed traveled to that of people traveling at speeds of say....10-12 mph, a biking speed that might be regarded as 'slow'...when they might want to, and comfortably be able to whip it up to 15-25 mph...and even faster in many situations. It helps to have someone living there confirm that it is legal to ride the road, even where well designed and maintained biking infrastructure exists nearby.
But once more: It's only legal to ride in the road when there's no bike path or if it can be seen as dangerous or blocked for some reason.

John Forester 11-23-12 03:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hagen2456 (Post 14977281)
Sorry I didn't answer you immediately. But yes, the law tells cyclists to use the bike paths where they're present. But your description below of the abilty to use them at high speed in most places outside the very city cores is correct. The thing is: Bike paths are not a way the motorists figured out to get us out of the way. They were the result of the cyclists demanding them. And they're a blessing, and what keeps hundreds of thousands (and in the Netherlands, millions) biking.



But once more: It's only legal to ride in the road when there's no bike path or if it can be seen as dangerous or blocked for some reason.

The story I heard about the first Dutch bike paths was that they were built alongside the rural roadways at the dawn of the modern motoring era, which would be about 1950 in the Netherlands. The purpose was to accommodate the existing rural cycling population when popular motoring was foreseen, with the purpose of clearing the way for the modern motorists. However, as with Ford's Model T, it was the rural population who first took up motoring, because they needed it most, leaving the rural bike paths for tourists.

hagen2456 11-23-12 03:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Forester (Post 14977311)
The story I heard about the first Dutch bike paths was that they were built alongside the rural roadways at the dawn of the modern motoring era, which would be about 1950 in the Netherlands. The purpose was to accommodate the existing rural cycling population when popular motoring was foreseen, with the purpose of clearing the way for the modern motorists. However, as with Ford's Model T, it was the rural population who first took up motoring, because they needed it most, leaving the rural bike paths for tourists.

Then you've heard the wrong story. The first Dutch bike paths pre-date WW2. Many of them were removed during the 50's and 60's to make way for the cars. Only from the beginning of the 70's after the huge "Stop the child murders" demonstrations did they start building new bike paths.

John Forester 11-23-12 05:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hagen2456 (Post 14977334)
Then you've heard the wrong story. The first Dutch bike paths pre-date WW2. Many of them were removed during the 50's and 60's to make way for the cars. Only from the beginning of the 70's after the huge "Stop the child murders" demonstrations did they start building new bike paths.

The story of the early history of Dutch bike paths was dated, by its teller, to before the increase in motoring. Therefore, I assumed that he was talking of the period after WW2 when there was a great increase in motoring, starting about 1950. However, from reading the short history of Dutch governmental involvement in cycling that forms the first part of the Dutch Master Transportation Plan 1999, I see that the building of bike paths along state highways (therefore rural) was largely in the 1930s, and was in response to the increase in motoring during that period and predicted for the future. That supports the story I was told, but dates it to the 1930s.

hagen2456 11-23-12 05:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Forester (Post 14977636)
The story of the early history of Dutch bike paths was dated, by its teller, to before the increase in motoring. Therefore, I assumed that he was talking of the period after WW2 when there was a great increase in motoring, starting about 1950. However, from reading the short history of Dutch governmental involvement in cycling that forms the first part of the Dutch Master Transportation Plan 1999, I see that the building of bike paths along state highways (therefore rural) was largely in the 1930s, and was in response to the increase in motoring during that period and predicted for the future. That supports the story I was told, but dates it to the 1930s.

Hehe, what it tells can be two things. It can tell us that motorists wanted cyclists out of the way, or that cyclists didn't want to share the roads with ever faster cars. Neither you nor I have any clear evidence of which is true. However, we know that a great deal of the bike paths were removed when car traffic increased rapidly, so perhaps your interpretation is not in line with that. Then came the demonstrations. I think one would have to twist the evidence quite a bit to see the present day Dutch bike paths as a result of motoring lobbyism.


Edited to replace "lanes" with "paths".

John Forester 11-23-12 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hagen2456 (Post 14977659)
Hehe, what it tells can be two things. It can tell us that motorists wanted cyclists out of the way, or that cyclists didn't want to share the roads with ever faster cars. Neither you nor I have any clear evidence of which is true. However, we know that a great deal of the bike lanes were removed when car traffic increased rapidly, so perhaps your interpretation is not in line with that. Then came the demonstrations. I think one would have to twist the evidence quite a bit to see the present day Dutch bike lanes as a result of motoring lobbyism.

Don't be so silly, Hagen. I was discussing bike paths, not bike lanes.

wsbob 11-23-12 07:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hagen2456 (Post 14977281)
Sorry I didn't answer you immediately. But yes, the law tells cyclists to use the bike paths where they're present. But your description below of the abilty to use them at high speed in most places outside the very city cores is correct. The thing is: Bike paths are not a way the motorists figured out to get us out of the way. They were the result of the cyclists demanding them. And they're a blessing, and what keeps hundreds of thousands (and in the Netherlands, millions) biking.



But once more: It's only legal to ride in the road when there's no bike path or if it can be seen as dangerous or blocked for some reason.


It's unfortunate not to be able to read the text of the law or laws you're saying exist in Denmark and the Netherland to prohibit cyclists taking the main lane of the road where adjacent bike specific infrastructure exists.

I understand what you're saying about bike lanes and cycle tracks in those countries being meticulously maintained, free of debris and what not, and have heard of this before. Bike lanes along roads and road shoulders in the Portland Metro Area often aren't kept well free of debris, even if they're otherwise sufficiently wide to ride on and so forth. These conditions make it very important for cyclists here to be able to legally leave bike lanes as needed, whether they're in or out of town.

Bekologist 11-23-12 09:58 PM

I suspect Dutch cyclists can ride thru debris that would terrify many american vehicular cyclists.Not that they would have to, but they could.

wsbob 11-24-12 02:55 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Looking around the web today for something that might verify claims made here that cyclists in the Netherlands are required by law to ride bike infrastructure where it's adjacent to roads. Haven't found much yet, but did run across a brochure that may be an official publication of the Amsterdam city council. It's vague on the specifics of the legal aspect, but among other things, does have a heading that says: "Follow the traffic regulations". One of the items under that heading is: "Use the cycle path and don't cycle on the pavement or the motorway".




Also found a website with some pics that possibly are good examples of Dutch roadways with cycle tracks. I've tried to post a couple of them to this post:

http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=285269

The street shown above, with its eight lanes, train in the center of the roadway, cycle tracks to the side of the road including buffer from the road makes for what, in my area, would be a huge 'right of way' to build.



http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=285270

Several other of the pictures at the website page were interesting to me as examples of Dutch roadways with cycle tracks, junctions and so on, but going to that site, seeing the pictures and reading the accompanying text may be better than my posting more of them here. http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/20...e-netherlands/

hagen2456 11-24-12 04:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Forester (Post 14977730)
Don't be so silly, Hagen. I was discussing bike paths, not bike lanes.

Mea culpa. I meant bike paths, of course. I'll edit the above post.

hagen2456 11-24-12 04:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bekologist (Post 14978293)
I suspect Dutch cyclists can ride thru debris that would terrify many american vehicular cyclists.Not that they would have to, but they could.

If you take a ride through central Copenhagen on an early Saturday or Sunday morning, there'll be a good amount of glass shards from broken bottles. The sweeping machines won't be around untill c. 8 am on weekends. So, you either ride through the debris on puncture safe tires, which a lot of commuters are using, or you leave the bike path. Simple as that. I doubt that the police would find any fault in your leaving the bike path in that case, given that you respect the flow of car traffic.

genec 11-24-12 08:58 AM

In spite of what ever truths may be exposed or shared in this thread, I find it utterly ironic that the guy continually criticizing cycling infrastructure in Holland (actually he just says "it won't work in America") has never used that infrastructure in Holland... and the guy constantly criticizing cycling in America (what little of it we have...) has never ridden a bike on American roads.

This alone should make one wonder about the depths of the arguments on either side of this debate.

Chicago Al 11-24-12 11:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by genec (Post 14979100)
In spite of what ever truths may be exposed or shared in this thread, I find it utterly ironic that the guy continually criticizing cycling infrastructure in Holland (actually he just says "it won't work in America") has never used that infrastructure in Holland... and the guy constantly criticizing cycling in America (what little of it we have...) has never ridden a bike on American roads.

This alone should make one wonder about the depths of the arguments on either side of this debate.

Gene, with all respect, this thread would not even exist if Forester 'just said' that Dutch cycling infrastructure would not work in the US. That would be a defensible position. But Forester routinely misleads about how Dutch cycling works, apparently to make his own methods look better by comparison. And he is one of the loudest voices in 'cycling advocacy' in the US. (Though it's a funny kind of 'advocacy' in that he apparently would prefer fewer people cycling than are doing so.) That's worthy of attention and correction.

Hagen, while no doubt a fine fellow, is just a commenter on this forum, has no wider influence, and does not pretend to the title of 'cycling transportation engineer.'

genec 11-24-12 12:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Al (Post 14979526)
Gene, with all respect, this thread would not even exist if Forester 'just said' that Dutch cycling infrastructure would not work in the US. That would be a defensible position. But Forester routinely misleads about how Dutch cycling works, apparently to make his own methods look better by comparison. And he is one of the loudest voices in 'cycling advocacy' in the US. (Though it's a funny kind of 'advocacy' in that he apparently would prefer fewer people cycling than are doing so.) That's worthy of attention and correction.

Hagen, while no doubt a fine fellow, is just a commenter on this forum, has no wider influence, and does not pretend to the title of 'cycling transportation engineer.'

I have to fully agree with you... and your comment on Forester is why some here believe he has done more to harm cycling advocacy in the US then to actually foster it.

But again, I still find it ironic that neither of these two parties has spent any time at all "sitting in the saddle" of the other's bike. Couple of armchair quarterbacks yelling across the pond at each other.

At least some folks here on BF have actually experienced riding bikes in various countries and have seen first hand what works and what doesn't.

Chicago Al 11-24-12 12:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by genec (Post 14979644)
(snip)

At least some folks here on BF have actually experienced riding bikes in various countries and have seen first hand what works and what doesn't.

But if A&S was limited to peoples' direct personal knowledge and experience, it would be a much smaller and quieter forum. Can't have that! ;)

wsbob 11-24-12 01:56 PM

I've never read Forester's book, but have known of the phrase 'Vehicular Cycling' for quite a long while, and as someone that bikes, find that phrase to be liberating. Beyond that basic liberating phrase, blind religious loyalty to one particular type of road infrastructure and planning for multi-mode transportation over another, just doesn't seem likely to help bring about good infrastructure. Even tempered, clear headed reasoning has to be at hand to produce good infrastructure. The 'loudest' voice by no means indicates the best voice or the best advocate for good road infrastructure that provides for safe, enjoyable travel with a range of travel modes.

Out where I live, adaptation is essential. Here, great Dutch biking infrastructure exists in few places. That makes the need for people to pick up the ability and skill for riding safe amongst motor vehicles very important. I've little doubt that if the type of Dutch biking infrastructure shown in the pics I posted above were common in Beaverton, people would love it and many more of a wider range would ride much more than they do currently. It would probably be better on many counts if we had it, but fact is though, my area doesn't have it and isn't likely to get it, beyond a few bits and pieces here and there, who knows when. I think the reality for us out here, is that we work to get the better infrastructure, but in the meantime, find some way to help people better handle riding with motor vehicle traffic.

Even if the better infrastructure were common, everyone that rides generally having good bike specific in traffic skills seems like something that should be an important priority.

cruiserhead 11-25-12 01:57 AM

relevant video of NYC

also the bikeshare is a brilliant program

Bekologist 11-25-12 04:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wsbob (Post 14979835)
I've never read Forester's book, but have known of the phrase 'Vehicular Cycling' for quite a long while, and as someone that bikes, find that phrase to be liberating...........Even if the better infrastructure were common, everyone that rides generally having good bike specific in traffic skills seems like something that should be an important priority.

The phrase may be liberating, but the actual, written and proscribed methodology is not.

If you're looking for good bike traffic skills, don't turn to John Forester's book. His book explicitly recommends cyclists break the law while cycling, fail to use hand signals out of fear of crashing, and to ride at the edges of the lanes while making turns so as to not get in the way of faster traffic. He's got no credibility as a spokesperson for american cycling compared to the Dutch method.

Bicycling advocates that know of john Foresters position on bicycling infrastructure consider him something of a anomaly (I consider him a product of the automobile age), he's no more an authority on dutch cycling than he is on hand signals by cyclists - Not an authority whatsoever.

John Forester 11-25-12 10:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bekologist (Post 14981676)
The phrase may be liberating, but the actual, written and proscribed methodology is not.

If you're looking for good bike traffic skills, don't turn to John Forester's book. His book explicitly recommends cyclists break the law while cycling, fail to use hand signals out of fear of crashing, and to ride at the edges of the lanes while making turns so as to not get in the way of faster traffic. He's got no credibility as a spokesperson for american cycling compared to the Dutch method.

Bicycling advocates that know of john Foresters position on bicycling infrastructure consider him something of a anomaly (I consider him a product of the automobile age), he's no more an authority on dutch cycling than he is on hand signals by cyclists - Not an authority whatsoever.

Bek's standard arguments all over again. Yes, indeed, I recommend that cyclists obey the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles while ignoring the discriminatory rules that keep cyclists at the edge of the roadway for the convenience of motorists. That's what Bek objects to, violating the laws made by motorists to discriminate against cyclists for the convenience of motorists. Always taking the motorists' side in these discussions is Bek.

Bek's argument against hand signals also stems from the "bike safety" instructions that, for decades, were provided for cyclists by the motoring establishment. That is, that hand signals are very important because use of a hand signal gave the cyclist the right of way to make a turn in front of a motorist. That was never the law, but the motoring establishment had to write its instructions for cyclists in that way because it assumed that cyclists were incapable of judging gaps in traffic. The actual law has always been that the driver, be he motorist or cyclist, may not turn or move laterally in traffic until he has seen that he can make the movement without upsetting the movement of any other driver. That's the important point. Bek's hullaballoo about hand signals appears very strong to those who had been misled by the violation of law instructed by the "bike safety" pamphlets. Again, there's Bek advancing the argument made by motorists instead of presenting the view of cyclists.

wsbob 11-25-12 01:27 PM

Note: In bold face, I've added the numbers and underlining in the quote below to help distinguish specific parts of the quote from one another.

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Forester (Post 14982290)
1. (snip) ... Yes, indeed, I recommend that cyclists obey the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles while ignoring the discriminatory rules that keep cyclists at the edge of the roadway for the convenience of motorists. ...(snip).

2. (snip)...That is, that hand signals are very important because use of a hand signal gave the cyclist the right of way to make a turn in front of a motorist. That was never the law, but the motoring establishment had to write its instructions for cyclists in that way because it assumed that cyclists were incapable of judging gaps in traffic. The actual law has always been that the driver, be he motorist or cyclist, may not turn or move laterally in traffic until he has seen that he can make the movement without upsetting the movement of any other driver. That's the important point. (snip)... hullaballoo about hand signals appears very strong to those who had been misled by the violation of law instructed by the "bike safety" pamphlets.(snip)


Number 1., underlined: This statement is vague. If it refers to bike lane use laws some states have implemented across the U.S.; the case in Oregon and it seems New York state as well, is that the law in those states...maybe other states as well...does not keep or confine people that bike, exclusively to the edge of the roadway. The text of Oregon's law acknowledges a wide range of situations in which cyclists are legally entitled to utilize main lanes of the road for travel by bike. The title of Oregon's bike lane use law may trip up some people's understanding of what it specifies, but in a reading of the body of the law, it's plain that cyclists are recognized as having the right to ride the main lane of the road as needed, at the discretion of the person riding. Link to text of Oregon's law: http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.420

Number 2.: My feeling, which I tend to think is widely shared by many people, is that it's very important for people that bike to know how to use hand signals to communicate intention to make directional turns, and also for slowing and stopping. It's not a matter of securing 'legal right', but 'communication' that's the function of these types of hand signal. Haven't been to Europe, so while I don't have first hand knowledge, to me it seems likely that even with the bike infrastructure Denmark and Netherlands have designed specifically to reduce conflicts between people driving motor vehicles and people riding bikes, it continues to be important for cyclists using roadways there, to have knowledge of and ability to effectively use hand signals to communicate directional, stopping and slowing intention to other road users.

hagen2456 11-25-12 02:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by genec (Post 14979644)
But again, I still find it ironic that neither of these two parties has spent any time at all "sitting in the saddle" of the other's bike. Couple of armchair quarterbacks yelling across the pond at each other.

You're quite right that I have no experience riding in the USA. I do, however, have a substancial experience riding in places without any sort of bike infrastructure, so I know wht it's about. What I can't know first hand is of course what the subtle cultural differences will mean for the experience. I don't doubt that these differences exist, though I think that they tend to be overestimated.

hagen2456 11-25-12 03:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wsbob (Post 14982694)
...
Number 2.: My feeling, which I tend to think is widely shared by many people, is that it's very important for people that bike to know how to use hand signals to communicate intention to make directional turns, and also for slowing and stopping. It's not a matter of securing 'legal right', but 'communication' that's the function of these types of hand signal. Haven't been to Europe, so while I don't have first hand knowledge, to me it seems likely that even with the bike infrastructure Denmark and Netherlands have designed specifically to reduce conflicts between people driving motor vehicles and people riding bikes, it continues to be important for cyclists using roadways there, to have knowledge of and ability to effectively use hand signals to communicate directional, stopping and slowing intention to other road users.


It is. Actually, here i Denmark you can be fined for not using the hand signals. Funny fact: The fine is as big as for a 10% speeding in a car.

cruiserhead 11-25-12 03:01 PM

This thread shows what a hinderance JF is to cycling progress. Well meaning people try to carry on productive discussion and it gets bogged down in semantics without progress. Classic example of politics and why very little gets done.

If I were an automotive lobbyist, I know the first person I would hire to kill any cycle development and keep the status quo.

Despite this, others have actually come up with some great info on how to translate successful bike systems into the US. So, thanks for that.

Of course, in reality, the best way would be to do all of these things discussed:
-focus on education for shared road users
-develop more sharrows, bike paths, bike lanes
-develop more buffered lanes
-focus on urban planning that is people based, not car based.

All these things are happening in urban areas to some degree, it seems. It is not applicable everywhere of course but everywhere it is happening, it is seen as an improvement.

wsbob 11-26-12 02:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hagen2456 (Post 14982924)
(snip) Actually, here i Denmark you can be fined for not using the hand signals. Funny fact: The fine is as big as for a 10% speeding in a car.


Hagen...can you clarify what you've written about the amount you're aware the fine for cyclists not using hand signals can be?

I don't know what the amount of the citation is, but Oregon has a law addressing cyclists' failure to signal turns: http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.440

A difficult part of this law in Oregon is element (2), which says:
"(2) A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is operating a bicycle and does not give the appropriate signal continuously for a stop or turn because circumstances require that both hands be used to safely control or operate the bicycle."
To articles at another weblog, I've read people's comments that occasionally express concern about cyclists' ability or lack of, to safely hand signal a turn and still be in relative control of the bike, applying brakes as needed. While many people experienced in biking may so to speak, 'know the ropes', with respect to the judgment and technique involved in being able on the bike to adequately display a hand signal, it probably goes without saying that many people as well, may not have that knowledge and technique. This is one of a number of issues associated with bikes and motor vehicles amongst each other on the road, that for people that bike, makes a good case for solid familiarity with bike in traffic techniques, widely introduced to everyone that bikes in traffic.

Bekologist 11-26-12 03:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Forester (Post 14982290)
Bek's argument against hand signals also stems from the "bike safety" instructions that, for decades, were provided for cyclists by the motoring establishment. That is, that hand signals are very important because use of a hand signal gave the cyclist the right of way to make a turn in front of a motorist. That was never the law, but the motoring establishment had to write its instructions for cyclists in that way because it assumed that cyclists were incapable of judging gaps in traffic. The actual law has always been that the driver, be he motorist or cyclist, may not turn or move laterally in traffic until he has seen that he can make the movement without upsetting the movement of any other driver. That's the important point. Bek's hullaballoo about hand signals appears very strong to those who had been misled by the violation of law instructed by the "bike safety" pamphlets.

My 'argument' against hand signals? - John's published cycling advice is for cyclists not to use them.

legally signalling turns is the law for both bicyclists and motorists, in the US as well as Holland. The paragraph above appears to excuse motorists also failing to signal turns. wsbob brings up a good point cyclists don't have to do them if safety predicates their both hands on the bars, but the published Forester method is to never use hand signals out of fear of crashing. A far different perspective.

none of which is neither here nor there in a discussion about cycling in Holland, except to mention that teaching cyclists the default method is to not use hand signals out of fear of crashing is no way to instruct people how to ride a bike, either in the US or Holland.


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