Ride to the hospital

BicycleDutch - 19 February, 2019 - 23:00
Another “real ride” in this week’s post. One from the main square in my hometown (very close to my home) to the city’s hospital. The city hospital of ʼs-Hertogenbosch used … Continue reading →
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Seeking Harmony

BicycleDutch - 12 February, 2019 - 23:00
When you follow my blog and Twitter stream and saw my recent posts, you could get the impression that we have much snow in the Netherlands and that we constantly … Continue reading →
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How well can you cycle in winter conditions?

BicycleDutch - 5 February, 2019 - 23:00
Two weeks ago the Netherlands was covered with a thin layer of snow. Enough snow to make cycling very uncomfortable if the roads and cycleways hadn’t been treated, but they … Continue reading →
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Cycling in the falling snow in Utrecht

BicycleDutch - 29 January, 2019 - 23:00
While quite some of my followers are suffering from the heat in Australia, most of you are in the northern hemisphere, like we are in the Netherlands, where it is … Continue reading →
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Cycling in Amsterdam through French eyes

BicycleDutch - 22 January, 2019 - 23:00
A video in French, that is the not so usual treat I have for you in this week’s blog post. In March 2018, a professional film team was working in … Continue reading →
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To the sea and back in January. A winter ride through Drenthe and Groningen + PPPPPP

A View from the Cycle Path - 21 January, 2019 - 12:38
We have installed triple glazing in some of our windows. These ice crystals were on the outside when I set off yesterday. Yesterday was the date of the Noordelijke Velomobiel Tocht - a winter recreational ride starting in Groningen and heading to the coast and back. The distance of the ride was supposed to be around 80 km, but it ended up a bit longer and when I added my ride from Assen to David Hembrow
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A cycle bridge in Rijswijk

BicycleDutch - 15 January, 2019 - 23:00
When I was cycling from Delft in the direction of The Hague, a few months ago, I stumbled upon a cycle bridge in Rijswijk. The stylish white bridge drew my … Continue reading →
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The Big Commute 10-year-anniversary

BicycleDutch - 8 January, 2019 - 23:01
Exactly 10 years ago today, I published my very first video about cycling in the Netherlands. To be more precise it was about the combination of cycling and using the … Continue reading →
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How Dutch Cycling benefits society

BicycleDutch - 1 January, 2019 - 23:00
“I intend to keep on showing you even more Dutch Cycling in 2019”, that’s what I promised in my last real post of 2018 and in this post, the first … Continue reading →
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Happy Holidays

BicycleDutch - 23 December, 2018 - 23:01
Just a little video this festive week to wish you all the best for the holidays. The Dutch towns and cities look lovely this time of the year with their … Continue reading →
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A compilation of my 2018 posts and videos

BicycleDutch - 17 December, 2018 - 23:01
This is the last real blog post of the year*, which traditionally is my year roundup. It is the fourth time that I made a compilation video, this time of … Continue reading →
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A winter ride

BicycleDutch - 16 December, 2018 - 23:01
Snow is becoming increasingly rare in this country, because of the climate change obviously. I did show you quite a bit of snow a little over one year ago, but … Continue reading →
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Daddy, what did you do in the climate war ?

A View from the Cycle Path - 13 December, 2018 - 12:14
100 years old and subtly updated for the war that we're facing now. Do you remember the 8th of October 2018 ? That was the day when the world's newspapers carried stories about the IPCC's latest report on climate change. We were told that we faced catastrophe if we do not take serious action, starting right now, to tackle climate change within 12 years. We were informed about the most serious David Hembrow
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How convenient is cycling in Malmö (Sweden)?

BicycleDutch - 10 December, 2018 - 23:01
Malmö was named Cycling Friendly City of the Year twice before in Sweden. What does that mean on an international scale? How cycle friendly is Sweden’s third largest city from … Continue reading →
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Enough of cars... Overuse of motorized transport is destroying everything.

A View from the Cycle Path - 4 December, 2018 - 20:50
Le Curé: "I don't like cars". Three months ago our car reached the end of its economical life and we took it to be scrapped. I'm not missing it. I never used it much anyway. When we first moved to the Netherlands we brought our car with us from the UK but after we arrived it didn't move a single centimetre until more than three years had passed and we finally got around to registering and David Hembrow
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From main road to attractive people’s space

BicycleDutch - 3 December, 2018 - 23:01
Utrecht is reconstructing the streets directly around the historic city centre. These streets, alongside the former city wall and moat, were once supposed to become a four lane main road. … Continue reading →
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Is Copenhagen a City of Cyclists?

BicycleDutch - 26 November, 2018 - 23:01
The City of Copenhagen wants to be the best cycling city in the world and calls itself "City of Cyclists". How justified is that from a Dutch perspective?
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Government response to its “Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) Safety Review”.

Road Danger Reduction Forum - 22 November, 2018 - 17:11

Today the Government announced its response to the consultation on its “Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) Safety Review”. You can download it here and I suggest anybody interested in sustainable/healthy travel does so – this is a very important document.
Below I’m giving some first impressions – as I say, you should read the full document yourselves.

1. “Realising your vision”.

In this first chapter there is an enthusiastic endorsement of active travel, safety for people walking and cycling and the call for “A world in which a 12 year old can cycle, and walk, safely
1.3 Cycle lanes don’t cause congestion – nice to see the Minister, Jesse Norman, say this.
1.7 Repetition of how the Government wants cycling and walking to be the “natural choices” for short journeys, or as part of longer one: unfortunately this is “by 2040”.

2.11 Next year there will be a 2 year “plan” – the “Road Safety Statement”. I don’t know if this will be different from what is summarised under Chapter 10 ANNEX A in this document, which gives a 2 year “Action Plan” including research.

3. The CWIS safety review

3.7 This is where the consultation on cycling offences – which has drawn so much justified anger from road danger reduction campaigners – is referred to. Apparently the emphasis on what cyclists might do to pedestrians is “the other side of the coin” of what the CWIS Safety Review is about. What this seems to mean – and I admit that I’m not totally clear on this – is that the promised review of road traffic law is now not going to happen as it’s now supposedly good enough. This maybe explains the Minister’s extraordinary statement last year that : “We already have strict laws that ensure that drivers who put people’s lives at risk are punished…

4. Key themes

4.4. This the bit where we get the intention to : “build awareness, understanding and empathy between different road user types” and involves“…reviewing the guidance in The Highway Code to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians; (this is the soon to be announced consultation on changing the Highway Code – do watch this space) commissioning new research to understand the advantages and disadvantages of a change to a presumed liability system (presumed liability would help with insurance claims and is the norm throughout Europe) ; using ‘nudge’ techniques to encourage drivers to consider the needs of vulnerable road users (“Nudge” techniques are a rather mimsy way of getting change – polite requests rather than actually specifying that something is wrong) ; promoting and testing awareness of vulnerable road users in the drivers’ Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC); and developing a package of vulnerable road user training for public sector drivers.” (The last two have been done for some time in London and some other places: but CPC can often be a box-ticking exercise and a robust approach is both necessary and easy to achieve).

Prioritising the needs of cyclists and pedestrians when decisions are made:
4.5 – 4.8
This looks promising and is about reinstating the “Hierarchy of Road Users” – namely priority for pedestrians, then people with disabilities, then cycling, then public transport, when it comes to decisions about planning, policing and transport. That’s good, but those of us who worked in local authorities with a supposed commitment to the Hierarchy of Road users can remember that it would often be there only in name. The most interesting part is:
4.8 The Government will be: “encouraging local authorities to invest around 15 per cent of their local transport infrastructure funding over time on cycling and walking.” That looks good, but don’t forget that is infrastructure (not other support or subsidy), and “encourage” may not mean much.

Protection of vulnerable road users from motor vehicles
4.9 – 4.11
We would have thought that this was what the CWIS Safety Review was all about, but it somehow just gets these three paragraphs.
4.10 gets down to this task with a reference to segregation, and then : “protection can also involve legal measures, for example, improving the rules of the road and their enforcement”. That is where the question of road traffic law seems to have ended up. There is no idea of how we met get traffic laws that work, nor – more importantly – of what is going to happen to reverse the reduction in numbers of traffic police officers.
In fact not much at all here:
4.11 We get some minor measures such as educating drivers about cycling and walking as part of sentencing – but then the basic position with regard to the law and it’s enforcement does not appear to be changing, so this is unlikely to have any positive effect.

Improving awareness of vulnerable road users.
4.15 – 4.18
Not much here of value in my opinion. The current concerns about distraction of drivers just gets: “The spread of mobile phones and other electronic devices may play a role here.”(4.16)

Higher levels of compliance with the law and rules of the road
4.19 – 4.22

This should be an important section. However, in 4.19 the report seems to go along with the view that : “the UK’s road traffic laws and rules of the road are effective and well-designed” with simply a problem of lack of compliance. So how should this be addressed?
4.20 and 4.21 point out, with apparent sympathy, the views expressed that life would be better if the rules and laws were obeyed and complied with. Again, how is this going to happen?
What we get is basically just “investing £100,000 to support the police to develop a national back office function to handle video and photographic evidence submitted by the public” (4.22). Were big supporters of 3rd party reporting – but if it is to be taken up properly in the UK it will require a lot more that £0.1 million for back office staff. Cameras for local councils to enforce the small number of mandatory cycle lanes (and it’s “allowing” rather than supporting with finance) will not make much difference. The only other measures in 4.22 are the review on cycling offences and something (already mentioned) about education as part of sentencing that small minority of drivers who get successfully prosecuted.

Promoting a more positive image of cycling and walking
4.23 – 4.24
This is often the “somewhat hopeless” part of the strategies to support active travel we have seen over the past couple of decades. It gives an impression that “something is being done” while in fact very little is. There is recognition in 4.23 that people are concerned about baiting of cyclists in the media – but all we seem to get is a “Cycling and Walking Commissioner”. We also get “and reviewing The Highway Code to ensure that the principle of the hierarchy of road users is reflected in guidance” (4.24) although that could be interpreted in different ways.

Chapter 5. Infrastructure and traffic signs

This is supposedly about how “The Government seeks to ensure a consistent approach is taken to cycling and walking infrastructure design guidance so that all road users can benefit from the best facilities”(5.3), with reference made to the current updating of ‘Local Transport Note 2/08: Cycle Infrastructure Design’ (LTN 2/08) to reflect current legislation and to take into account developments in cycle infrastructure design, since its publication in 2008.”

But will highway authorities be required to implement these new standards? Ever since there was any kind of engineering of infrastructure for the supposed benefit of cycling, there has been continual debate that much of it is of little benefit, some useless, and some even worse. The response from the Government here in 5.10 is here:

We have carefully considered the calls for the Government to create national standards, as   opposed to guidance, for cycling infrastructure. We do not want to be overly prescriptive about what infrastructure must be like; the evidence is that this can reduce investment and/or lead to inappropriate designs and a lack of ambition and innovation. We believe it is better for local councils to continue to be responsible for their design standards and implementation…”.

So that’s a “No”. Poor examples of infrastructure will simply be “highlighted” .

Under “Strengthening planning policy on cycling and walking” I can’t see anything which is actually new. There is reference to under 5.12 (110): “applications for development should: ─ Give priority first to pedestrian and cycle movement”. But does this mean that there is a framework in place which actually gets this? My experience is that there is plenty of completely car dependent housing being produced under just this sort of framework: “should” doesn’t mean “has to”.
Under “Investment” I can’t see anything new – I hope I’m wrong, do comment below if I am!

This Chapter ends up with:
“5.29 While it is important to learn from best practice, contextual and cultural factors mean that the success of an intervention in one country at improving cycling and walking safety does not guarantee its success in another.” That is obviously true, and I wold be the first to say it. However, in the context of this report it seems a bit like a warning to not expect continental quality of cycle infrastructure. But maybe that’s just me.

6. Law and rules of the road

A key chapter here, with all eyes on the forthcoming review of the Highway Code – but this may take up to three years, just on the walking and cycling elements (6.5).

Under “Safety around schools” there is consideration about introduction of slower sped zones; and a review of pavement parking laws.

“Enforcement” (6.19 – 6.27) is dire. Apart from the very small amount given to back office support of 3rd party reporting, there is practically nothing. The actual issue of enforcement, which would require a massive increase in roads policing as well as a road danger reduction approach, is simply pushed on to Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables (6.19) , who don’t (with a few notable exceptions) have a good record on squeezing more and better roads policing out of contracting budgets.

All we get are somewhat unclear possibilities for enforcement of mandatory cycle lanes and Advance Stop Line boxes (“the issue is not straightforward…”), along with “However, the Government also recognises the need to avoid over-zealous parking enforcement…”(6.25). And, yes, dangerous cyclists threatening pedestrians (6.27).

“Sentencing” (6.28 – 6.35) gives us, well, nothing really. There is no comprehensive review of the law, and we have: “6.32. When we review The Highway Code, we will work with the courts and the Crown Prosecution Services as key decision makers to ensure that the principle of the hierarchy of road users is reflected in guidance”. It’s very difficult to see what that would actually mean without a full review of the law.

“Liability” does see some progress. Don’t forget this applies in civil law, so it does not appear to me that this is being considered under criminal law – which is anyway not being reviewed. Most European countries have some sort of presumption of liability in civil law in cases involving motorised vehicle drivers/riders on the one hand, and pedestrians and cyclists on the other. What we are getting here (6.42) is “We intend to work together with the Ministry of Justice to commission research to understand the advantages and disadvantages of a change in liability rules.”

“Registration and licensing of cyclists”. This gets a NO, as it should.

7. Training and educating road users

Not much here, in my view. There won’t be compulsory re-testing for drivers, except for a small minority who have been successfully prosecuted for various bad driving offences.(7.9/10); cycle raining for driving instructors; cycling awareness in various CPC modules; Bikeability (although there is no indication of proper levels of funding being available to those who want it).

8. Vehicles and equipment

The section on HGVs does refer to the Direct Vision standard being developed in London – but doesn’t say anything about rolling this out to other cities in the UK. Just some paragraphs on “awareness raising” of the issues. Very disappointing.

High visibility and helmets: Very disappointing. It does say:”… we believe wearing helmets, and also high-vis clothing, should remain a matter of individual choice rather than imposing additional regulations which would be difficult to enforce”.(8.11), but note that the reason for this is NOT – as we think it should be – an evidence-based approach based on the lack of evidence of benefits of hi-viz and helmets. There is still an assumption that these are basically good interventions, with no evidence referenced at all for hi-viz, and poor evidence for helmets being quoted. Despite the lack of good evidence, the Government is still saying: “we will continue to encourage cyclists, especially children, to wear helmets to protect them…” .

Motor vehicle standards: Nothing on making drivers take up any advances in telematics, just existing work such as Intelligent Speed Adaptation on some vehicles. Years ago we were promised automatic braking systems on motor vehicles to protect pedestrians and cyclists, and now…very disappointing.

9. Attitudes and public awareness.

As said above, this is the bottom of the list of interventions we need to consider, and there is nothing much here worth commenting on.

That’s my assessment. Do feel free to comment below. If you want to see what we think SHOULD  have gone into this document, see our response to the consultation here.

Dr Robert Davis, Chair Road Danger Reduction Forum, 22nd November 2018
Categories: Views

The Delft bicycle parking facility revisited

BicycleDutch - 19 November, 2018 - 23:01
In June 2015 I showed you the bicycle parking facility in Delft that had just opened at that time. It is an integrated part of the railway station that was … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Cycling with Disabilities and Injuries

Copenhagenize - 19 November, 2018 - 08:00

I haven't been on a bicycle for 7 days. The reason? A couple of cracked ribs. I've tried each and every day to cycle, but it hasn't been possible. When a simple cough is enough to bring tears to your eyes, riding a bicycle is a long shot. A serious blow to my pride but hey, at least I can walk around the neighbourhood. Which is nice.

Many Danish cities have small cars like these to measure the level of comfort on the bicycle infrastructure. I have a better, cheaper idea.

The city should just give citizens with broken or cracked ribs a smartphone, with activated GPS and a live line to a person at the Bicycle Office. Then they just ride around the city. Every time an OWWWW! or groan is heard, the GPS location is registered. That way the city will be able to map the spots that need maintenence. Now broken ribs are one thing, but what of citizens with more serious injuries or disabilities?

So I thought I'd whips together this article with photos of Copenhageners and other urban dwellers cycling with injuries or disabilities or using other vehicles that improve accessibility and mobility.

Like the shot of a Copenhagener in the morning rush hour (above) riding with what looks like a broken - or at least injured - hand, above. Still looking cool as you like.

Then there is this Copenhagener carrying her crutches with her on her bicycle. Fair enough, she might have been heading to the hospital - across the street - to deliver the crutches back.

Then I remembered this shot from a while back of a girl carrying her crutches and getting doubled by her mum. The bicycle is a versatile tool. I know several friends who, after many years playing sports, have problems with their knees. They are invariably advised to ride a bicycle by their doctors.

There is a bike for almost everyone.

If you also make the bicycle the quickest and safest way to get around a city, people will do so - whatever their physical challenges. The bicycle is a freedom machine for many people.

The dapper gentleman to the left may have reduced mobility for whatever reason, but he can get out and about with ease on this tricycle. Note his cane sticking out of the back.

I see the man in the right photo quite often. He rides a tricycle and only has one arm. A friend of mine knows him and I'm told that he only has one leg, too. He lost his limbs in a landmine explosion in the country he was born. He still gets about with ease on his wheels. Both of these gentlemen were impeccably dressed.

This gent is amazing and so is his cargo bike. A retrofitted Nihola lets him ride around the city with no lower arms and only one leg to pedal with. Fantastic.

If you're a legendary Danish rock star, like Steen Jørgensen (above), you have a certain look to maintain and Steen pulls it off to perfection. The fact that he has no left arm is of little consequence.

I took this photo in Tokyo. The man had some form of disability with his legs. It required effort for him to get the pedals to turn but you can bet that it was a fraction of the effort he'd use when walking.

The lady on the left has a kind of cast on her leg, but still rides. The two photos on the right are from last winter. The boyfriend was holding the girls' crutches and she moved slowly along - injured foot wrapped in plastic - on a child's bicycle they had borrowed. It was icy so the crutches were probably more dangerous than helpful so the bicycle stepped in to assist. They were heading to the hospital down the road.

I spotted this lady in Vienna, Austria. Carrying her walking sticks to help her after she got off her bicycle.

This quaint sign on this tricycle reads, "Slightly Disabled".

What with all the bicycle options for disabled - whether permanently or temporarily - it's not surprising to see a parking sign like this outside my local library. It reads "Invalid Bicycles", reserving a space close to the door for those who need it.


I took this photo in Montreal. A trike pulling a wheelchair behind. This takes intermodality to a whole new level.

This retrofitted Nihola (it really is the Danish brand that offers unique variations of their cargo bikes) is designed simply to carry a wheelchair with passenger.

This gent has his walker in the front of his cargo bike - intermodality once again.

You see many trike brands in operation in Copenhagen on a daily basis. This gent had what appeared to be Down Syndrome and he enjoys active mobility on this trike.

Electric Vehicles

Spotted in Amsterdam. An electric scooter with the wheelchair on a rack on the back. Compared to other cities, you see so many of such vehicles on the cycle tracks of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Used by people with disabilities and the elderly. It's a massive market with many brands. Offering urban mobility to people who might be restricted to a wheelchair.

Cool as you like in Copenhagen.

If it is ripe old age that has reduced mobility, the bicycle still serves a purpose. I see this lady all the time in my neigbourhood. Always walking her bicycle with groceries in the basket. Perhaps too unstable to ride, but using the bicycle as a kind of crutch. Lovely.Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.
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