Finally fully open: Utrecht’s huge bicycle parking garage

BicycleDutch - 19 August, 2019 - 23:00
The biggest bicycle parking of the world, in Utrecht, is now fully operational. Since Monday 19 August the garage at the central railway station has room to park over 12,500 … Continue reading →
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A Groningen ride (University – Centre)

BicycleDutch - 13 August, 2019 - 23:00
When I was in Groningen two months ago, I was able to revisit the cycle route from the city centre to the University Campus Zernike that I had been critical … Continue reading →
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Long term review: My Pashley PDQ touring recumbent. 20 years on the Ship of Theseus.

A View from the Cycle Path - 8 August, 2019 - 20:10
Long term review: 20 years ago I bought a Pashley PDQ recumbent bicycle for touring. I still have it and still use it. Pashley PDQ recumbent bicycle. Compact, simple in design, reliable. Still a good buy second hand in my opinion. Cycling need not be an expensive activity. Good quality bicycles last a long time. If we're careful to buy decent quality machines and we maintain them with some David Hembrow
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An underground bicycle parking garage in Amsterdam

BicycleDutch - 6 August, 2019 - 23:00
The Amsterdam Beursplein (“Stock Exchange Square”) has been restored in a beautiful way. The 1903 square had been used as car parking space until 1982, after which it had been … Continue reading →
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Bicycle helmets – the Dutch way

BicycleDutch - 4 August, 2019 - 23:00
Guest contributions have been rare on my blog in the past 10 years, but there were a few. Sometimes people filmed for me and sometimes I chose to publish other … Continue reading →
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Cycling in the hottest evening rush hour on record

BicycleDutch - 30 July, 2019 - 23:00
What a Summer the one of 2019 is… The arctic is burning in an unprecedented way, there was a second heatwave in Europe, breaking records on two consecutive days and … Continue reading →
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Without tackling car culture we won’t make headway with road danger reduction

Road Danger Reduction Forum - 24 July, 2019 - 18:27

(This article appeared in the 19th July 2019 issue of Local Transport Today as “Viewpoint” – online here)

Last week Lord Berkeley retired after 26 years as President of the Road Danger Reduction Forum (RDRF). So what has been achieved since we were set up in 1993? Is road danger being properly addressed? And since governance of policy on safety on the road is always part of wider transport policy, is the way our society views transport what we need for the 21st century? Despite some positive developments, the answer for both is no.

So what is the road danger reduction (RDR) agenda? Following publication of my “Death on the Streets: Cars and the mythology of road safety” in 1992, a conference in Leeds was organised to outline the “new agenda” in road safety, where a group of transport professionals invented the phrase “road danger reduction”.

A key concern was that the “road safety” (RS) establishment’s metric for success – aggregated deaths or casualty numbers – was deeply flawed. We knew that reduction of casualties could be attributed to spontaneous change, or migration of the more vulnerable (and benign) mode users from the highway environment, and that at the very least casualty reduction could be better achieved by reducing danger at source – from the (mis)use of motorised vehicles.
The academic basis, such as John Adams’ reading of “the Smeed curve”, was robust. All we had to do was state the obvious to politicians: reported Killed and Serious Injury (KSI) casualties are not the same as, and may be inversely related to, actual danger. Everybody knows a busy gyratory system that may have few reported pedestrian and cycling KSIs precisely because the danger at such locations inhibits people from cycling and walking there. “Real road safety” – RDR – states this.

There are two key components to the RDR approach. Firstly, we emphasise that we all adapt to our perceptions of danger. Sometimes this “risk compensation” can have negative consequences: parents preventing their children from independent travel because of road danger, or the increases in motor danger (initially leading to increases in pedestrian deaths) from compulsory seat belt legislation. Sometimes it can be good – an increased tendency of drivers to watch out with greater traffic congestion intensity or the increased presence of cyclists in some urban areas (“Safety in Numbers”).

Secondly, the “Who Kills (or hurts or endangers) Whom?” question. The “road safety” industry has spent 100 years covering up the essential difference in potential lethality between different transport modes. In other safety regimes it would be usual to concentrate on those posing the greatest potential danger to others before seeing those they endanger as the problem, but not with “road safety”. We have accordingly drawn attention to attempts to measure danger to others, such as here.

This focus shows the essential moral difference between RS and RDR. For us the fact of endangering, hurting or killing others is fundamentally different from being endangered, hurt or killed. The RS industry obscures this fact.

Indeed, if we were just totting up deaths due to the current road transport system, we would consider noxious emissions, inactive travel, climate change or simply the investment in motor transport which could be spent on health care. Each one of these will either come close to or dwarf the numbers of life years lost due to KSIs.

Which brings us to transport policy: unlike the RS industry, embedded in successive governments’ accommodation (or encouragement) of increased motor traffic, RDR aims to reduce motor vehicle usage for environmental, social, and public health reasons.

So where are we now? Organisations supporting cycling, walking and road crash victims have embraced RDR since the 1990s, and the current Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy (MTS) stresses road danger reduction. Nevertheless, central Government seems to be stuck in the old paradigm. As recently as 2012, the Road Safety and Cycling Ministers argued that the Netherlands had a worse record on cyclist safety than the UK – by measuring it in cycling casualties per head of the population. Obviously casualties per journey were lower in the Netherlands, with the higher figure per head of population due to far, far higher levels of cycling. Use the right metrics!

With transport policy we have had consistent warnings about induced demand from road building, congestion, health disbenefits to users of motor transport, noxious emissions, global heating, loss of local community, and the massive financial costs of these “external costs”, for some decades. Some of them led to John Prescott’s famous commitment to reduce motor traffic – a claim swiftly dropped after he took power. Targets for increased amounts of cycling have been made since the early 90s, and rapidly disappeared.

On the plus side, with RDR enforcement we have West Midlands Police Road Harm Prevention Team setting the gold standard. We have a reasonable target for motor traffic reduction in London’s MTS – but only by 2041.

Essentially we have politicians unwilling to challenge the idea that there is a “right” to drive where, when, how and why drivers want – and to not pay the true cost for this. The key task for practitioners is to make this clear to their employers, and to show why motor traffic (including EVs) needs to be reduced, and how: costs of motoring (and road traffic law enforcement with deterrent sentencing) need to be increased, with parking and on-carriageway space for motoring cut.

This basically requires cultural change. It’s not impossible: other countries similar to ours have reduced motor traffic and/or increased cycle use in cities, have better public transport, and driver behaviour better attuned to the needs of other road users like cyclists. We in the RDR movement think there is no other civilised way forward.

Dr Robert Davis,  July 2019

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No limits to the success of the public transport bicycle

BicycleDutch - 23 July, 2019 - 23:00
The OV-Fiets (public transport bicycle) system in The Netherlands keeps on growing. “People only complain about their availability.” The yellow and blue bikes are a well-known sight in every city … Continue reading →
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Riding from Lake “Iron Man” to ʼs-Hertogenbosch

BicycleDutch - 16 July, 2019 - 23:00
One thing the Dutch take for granted is that they can really cycle everywhere. You never need to do a reconnaissance tour before you want to cycle with your family … Continue reading →
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Lord Berkeley retires as President of RDRF after an astonishing 26 years

Road Danger Reduction Forum - 13 July, 2019 - 17:52

Tony Berkeley, President of the Road Danger Reduction Forum since its beginning in 1993, has retired from his position with the new interim President to be Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb.

Lord Berkeley said:

“After 26 years I am glad that Road Danger Reduction is now on the agenda as the way for improving safety for all road users. First the pedestrian and cyclist groups were on board, and the now the phrase is being used widely, such as in the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy, an important policy statement. I’m pleased that Jenny Jones will be taking up my role – we need to press ahead to make sure that danger is reduced at source, and not just talking about doing so.”


Jenny Jones has worked in the London Assembly and House of Lords for road danger reduction.

She says: “Our streets should belong to people first, vehicles second”. Jenny has worked to make safe space for walking and cycling, to improve public transport and to reduce traffic levels.

Current work by the RDRF includes being the Secretariat for West Midlands Police Road Harm Prevention Team, delivering training in road danger reduction to transport professionals, and advising transport authorities and campaigning groups.

For further information see and

Categories: Views

Traffic flows when people interact in a human way

BicycleDutch - 9 July, 2019 - 23:00
I posted a one minute video of an Amsterdam intersection which got a lot of attention on Twitter two months ago. That minute shows many different types of bicycles and … Continue reading →
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How cycle friendly is Dublin?

BicycleDutch - 2 July, 2019 - 23:00
I couldn’t remember when I last felt afraid on my bicycle. Not just anxious, but genuinely fearing for my life. I do now, after I cycled in Dublin last week. … Continue reading →
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Summertime recreational cycling

BicycleDutch - 25 June, 2019 - 23:00
It’s Summer and for most countries that means there is more cycling than in winter. Is that also the case for the Netherlands? One investigation shows that the total number … Continue reading →
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Utrecht’s Disappearing Roadways

BicycleDutch - 20 June, 2019 - 14:10
Streetfilms, created by Clarence Eckerson jr. from New York City, are always a pleasure to watch. For his 960th video, Clarence interviewed yours truly about the huge transformation Utrecht is … Continue reading →
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“Cargo bikes are booming”

BicycleDutch - 18 June, 2019 - 23:00
The director of the International Cargo Bike Festival, which was celebrated last weekend in the city of Groningen in the far north of the Netherlands, thinks “the tide is definitely … Continue reading →
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How hard is it to cross the cycle path?

BicycleDutch - 11 June, 2019 - 23:00
Some people express concerns about pedestrians, when they see my videos of the very busy cycleways in the Netherlands. They feel it must be very hard to cross there and … Continue reading →
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This Week in 1992. A thirty year old time capsule demonstrates both the problems due to cars and the lack of progress that we've made in addressing them.

A View from the Cycle Path - 7 June, 2019 - 15:28
This TV programme was transmitted in the UK in 1992. That's 27 years ago. I'm fairly sure that I watched the programme as I would certainly have been interested in this subject at that time. None of the the problems shown in this nearly 30 year old video have really been resolved. Many of the proposed solutions remain the same but they've not been implemented. It's another story of missing David Hembrow
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Removing a barrier to cycling in North-Holland

BicycleDutch - 4 June, 2019 - 23:00
When the town of Heerhugowaard expanded beyond a main road, its new residents were faced with a barrier for cycling. It proved possible, however, to build a beautifully curved cycle … Continue reading →
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Cycling increased again in Utrecht

BicycleDutch - 28 May, 2019 - 23:00
The people of Utrecht are very satisfied with cycling in their city and they continue to cycle more every year. Cycling increased with five percent last year, while the number … Continue reading →
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What’s worse, Dutch winds or hills?

BicycleDutch - 21 May, 2019 - 23:00
The debate is still ongoing about what is more annoying: Dutch head winds or hills. I’m not sure yet either, but I do know now what is worst: riding uphill … Continue reading →
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