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How dedicated bike lanes work in Amsterdam

By 16 August 2011 81

Following Pedal Power’s contentious proposal yesterday for barriers to separate bike lanes on Northbourne from traffic here’s a look at how they do things in Amsterdam.


bike path

The cycleway is the red portion of this pavement.


bike paths

Here’s another example of Amsterdam. Two-directional tramway in the middle-through-lower-left. Bike path on the left behind the teal bollards, and to the right. Sandwiched in there are two lanes of car traffic. This path is about as wide as Northbourne Avenue between Sydney and Melbourne buildings.


bike paths

And here is a drawbridge which has two spans: one for cars, the other for pedestrian traffic (i.e.: “Copenhagen style”)


bike path

And remember that the bike paths are shared between bicycles and mopeds.

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81 Responses to How dedicated bike lanes work in Amsterdam
#1
KB197110:16 am, 16 Aug 11

The top one could easily work on Northbourne, either in the nature strip or the middle. Only on Northbourne IMO, I cycle in from the south & I think it is well catered for with the combination of off road paths & on road lanes.

#2
Gungahlin Al10:18 am, 16 Aug 11

I like it.

#3
Deref10:34 am, 16 Aug 11

It works brilliantly in Amsterdam and in other places in Europe. So sensible. Maybe we could import some brain cells from Holland and implant them in our politicians.

#4
Mr Gillespie10:35 am, 16 Aug 11

Looks better than the “slim, narrow strips” that separate cars from semi-on-road bike lanes like in Sydney.

#5
chewy1410:45 am, 16 Aug 11

Yeah, if only we had the population density of Amsterdam and everyone could ride or catch public transport everywhere.

Where are the cars meant to go?

#6
Jim Jones10:58 am, 16 Aug 11

chewy14 said :

Yeah, if only we had the population density of Amsterdam and everyone could ride or catch public transport everywhere.

Where are the cars meant to go?

You’ll never change anything for the better if you can’t accept change at all.

#7
PigDog11:03 am, 16 Aug 11

I don’t think it is fair to compare the roads in those photos with Northbourne. Show me a six lane road that has these bike lanes, please.

#8
lumpy11:11 am, 16 Aug 11

Mr Gillespie said :

Looks better than the “slim, narrow strips” that separate cars from semi-on-road bike lanes like in Sydney.

Are you referring to the ones around Surry Hills, Woolloomooloo etc? I personally like them, but I’m not a rider myself so I can’t comment on their practicality.

#9
chewy1411:12 am, 16 Aug 11

Jim Jones said :

chewy14 said :

Yeah, if only we had the population density of Amsterdam and everyone could ride or catch public transport everywhere.

Where are the cars meant to go?

You’ll never change anything for the better if you can’t accept change at all.

And you’ll never change anything for the better by assuming that things that work overseas in cities with completely different demographics will work here.
Forward planning is the key and unfortunately we’ve been failed by successive governments refusing to think beyond the current election cycle.
If I could ride a bike or catch public transport to work I’d be thrilled. Unfortunately the layout of our city prevents it.

#10
BicycleCanberra11:14 am, 16 Aug 11

It is important to compare like roads, Northbourne Ave is unusual, in that I mean ,to have a six lane road running through the centre of your city at high volumes, and you would be had pressed to find an equivalent in Holland. Copenhagen’s , Hans Christian Boulevard would be similar but is lower in speed particularly in the city centre and a mix of cycle tracks (Copenhagen style) and cycle lanes but then again only 5 in 10 Copenhageners rate their infrastructure as safe.

http://youtu.be/ZtX8qiC_rXE

Here is what Amsterdam used to look like in the 1970′s it wasn’t so much cycle friendly then and accidents and fatalities where much higher until they started implementing cycle infrastructure and restricting car use……

http://youtu.be/5AB3hCbH0s4

#11
Skyring11:29 am, 16 Aug 11

I spent several days in Amsterdam last year. The bike lanes work, but by jingo, foreigners have to keep their wits about them. Not only are the vehicles coming from the wrong direction, but there are bikes – some of them quite large family affairs – and scooters on what we regarded as the footpath. Not just one or two, but a peak hour stream.

It’s a great way of moving people around. It works well – in Amsterdam, where the land is dead flat and the population density high. Even in the suburbs, it takes about as long to drive somewhere as bike it. In the centraal area, bikes are by far the most efficient way to travel.

Canberra, sprawling across the map, divided by ridgelines, is not the place for this sort of system.

I’m all in favour of more bikeways, but they should be dedicated to cyclists, away from roads and pedestrians as much as possible.

As a night cabbie, kangaroos and idiot cyclists in dark clothing and without lights are the two perils of the job that worry me most. Forget the drunks and crazies – I can handle them. It’s the things that jump or ride out in front of me without warning that give me the willies.

You get more cyclists on the streets, you’ll get more accidents.

#12
shadow boxer11:35 am, 16 Aug 11

chewy14 said :

Jim Jones said :

chewy14 said :

Yeah, if only we had the population density of Amsterdam and everyone could ride or catch public transport everywhere.

Where are the cars meant to go?

You’ll never change anything for the better if you can’t accept change at all.

And you’ll never change anything for the better by assuming that things that work overseas in cities with completely different demographics will work here.
Forward planning is the key and unfortunately we’ve been failed by successive governments refusing to think beyond the current election cycle.
If I could ride a bike or catch public transport to work I’d be thrilled. Unfortunately the layout of our city prevents it.

Correct, Northbourne takes 1,000′s of cars through civic and across the lake where they are dispersed quite well by State circle, there are a 100 ways to ride into civic from the north without clogging up the only option that the cars have for traversing the city.

And while i’m at it why do we have pedestrian lights on c’wealth ave disrupting peak hour traffic for months for floriade when 100 metres down the road people can walk underneath the bridge and into the park.

#13
BicycleCanberra11:44 am, 16 Aug 11

PigDog said :

I don’t think it is fair to compare the roads in those photos with Northbourne. Show me a six lane road that has these bike lanes, please.

This is a six lane road with separated lanes at this point near the city centre but not for the whole distance of the road……..

http://maps.google.com.au/maps?q=amsterdam,holland&hl=en&ll=52.359012,4.904923&spn=0.014703,0.037551&sll=-25.335448,135.745076&sspn=43.331499,76.904297&vpsrc=6&t=h&z=15&layer=c&cbll=52.358977,4.904781&panoid=mNnmyJgWoGMiNHMYgN8Tmg&cbp=12,257.64,,0,21.91

#14
doomguy100112:15 pm, 16 Aug 11

Amsterdam is NOT Canberra! Hope that is clear for some of you out there.

Canberra was designed with cars and the possibility of a rail/tram system in mind. Not the Utopian cyclist paradise you wish to create, I second what SkyRing said about keeping cyclists away from roads as much as possible.

Think about it, How can a cyclist be run over or be involved in any kind of contact with the road traffic (with the exception of intersections) if they are riding on a bike path/pedestrian path at least two or so metres away from the road.

Granted the bike path system doesn’t exactly lend itself to direct timely commuting and heaven forbid that pedestrians with children and/or dogs could using them. But surely the existing network could be looked at and improvements made to cater for more direct travel using the bike path network. Why create a new network when we can spend less time and less money improving what we have already got?

You want the dedicated bike lanes? Amsterdam style? Pay rego. Road vehicle traffic pays rego to basically pay for the cost of construction and maintenance of the roads – cyclists using the road based bike lanes have been getting a free ride (excuse the pun) on the road system for too long.

#15
BicycleCanberra12:48 pm, 16 Aug 11

doomguy1001 said :

Amsterdam is NOT Canberra! Hope that is clear for some of you out there.

You want the dedicated bike lanes? Amsterdam style? Pay rego. Road vehicle traffic pays rego to basically pay for the cost of construction and maintenance of the roads – cyclists using the road based bike lanes have been getting a free ride (excuse the pun) on the road system for too long.

Note: they don’t pay rego for bicycles in Holland or in Denmark. Should pedestrians have to pay rego for Footpaths? Silly analogy, We all pay rego,rates and taxes.

#16
arescarti4212:50 pm, 16 Aug 11

doomguy1001 said :

I really can’t believe people still post comments like this on this site.

1. Most cyclists are also motorists who pay registration.
2. Registration fees don’t come anywhere near funding the road system, most of that comes from general taxation revenue.

On a different note, I suspect the direction to go with furthering cycling in Canberra is to better integrate it with public transport. The distances from the suburbs to most places of work are pretty unpalatable for most people to ride the whole way, but a short ride to the nearest town/group centre and an express service to the city might be more workable.

#17
triffid1:07 pm, 16 Aug 11

chewy14 said :

And you’ll never change anything for the better by assuming that things that work overseas in cities with completely different demographics will work here.

Absolutely spot on. Overlay, as well, the cultural differences resulting from the pattern of evolution of European cites and the contrast is stark. I can recall seeing a movie come out, at midnight, in Groningen (in Holland), with people everywhere, most of them filing into a multi-story ‘car’ park. Except, it wasn’t a car park . . . it was a multi-story bicycle (only) park. It was also late January. Ask yourself how long you will wait before you see that happen here, even if the infrastructure and other incentives were plonked into place overnight by the bicycle genie.

It’s also simple maths. Amsterdam: 4,457 people per square kilometre. Canberra: 424 people per square kilometre. (Sydney: 4,032 people per square kilometre). Next nearest population centre to Amsterdam: Utrecht – 400,000 people only 40 km away. Next nearest (real) population centre to Canberra: Sydney – 4.6 million people 300 km away. Total surface area of Holland: 41,543 square km. Surface area of Victoria: 227,000 square km. There is a completely different spatial paradigm here — even in the ACT — that needs to be accepted. Zealotry for a cause needs to be removed from the argument.

Driving from Canberra to Brisbane is the same as driving from Brugge (in Belgium) to Cairo (yes . . . in Egypt).

#18
BicycleCanberra1:23 pm, 16 Aug 11

triffid said :

chewy14 said :

And you’ll never change anything for the better by assuming that things that work overseas in cities with completely different demographics will work here.

Absolutely spot on. Overlay, as well, the cultural differences resulting from the pattern of evolution of European cites and the contrast is stark. I can recall seeing a movie come out, at midnight, in Groningen (in Holland), with people everywhere, most of them filing into a multi-story ‘car’ park. Except, it wasn’t a car park . . . it was a multi-story bicycle (only) park. It was also late January.

Ask yourself how long you will wait before you see that happen here, even if the infrastructure and other incentives were plonked into place overnight by the bicycle genie.
.

Lets not get carried away here, all we are talking about is having separate cycle facilities that improve safety , not trying to change a car centric culture, one that used to use bikes more that cars half a century ago.

#19
BicycleCanberra1:29 pm, 16 Aug 11

triffid said :

It’s also simple maths. Amsterdam: 4,457 people per square kilometre. Canberra: 424 people per square kilometre. (Sydney: 4,032 people per square kilometre). Next nearest population centre to Amsterdam: Utrecht – 400,000 people only 40 km away. Next nearest (real) population centre to Canberra: Sydney – 4.6 million people 300 km away. Total surface area of Holland: 41,543 square km. Surface area of Victoria: 227,000 square km. There is a completely different spatial paradigm here — even in the ACT — that needs to be accepted. Zealotry for a cause needs to be removed from the argument.

Driving from Canberra to Brisbane is the same as driving from Brugge (in Belgium) to Cairo (yes . . . in Egypt).

We’ve mentioned this before, There are cities just as dense or more dense that have lower cycling rates than Canberra , London is a good example just 1% . If I could substitute the words of Bill Clinton(its the economy stupid) ‘Its the infrastructure stupid!”

#20
dpm1:44 pm, 16 Aug 11

shadow boxer said :

And while i’m at it why do we have pedestrian lights on c’wealth ave disrupting peak hour traffic for months for floriade when 100 metres down the road people can walk underneath the bridge and into the park.

Hmmm, that’s actually a damn good point! My (unfortunate) guess is that without the lights, most people were trying to play frogger to save thesleves a 100m walk…..

#21
shadow boxer1:46 pm, 16 Aug 11

BicycleCanberra said :

triffid said :

It’s also simple maths. Amsterdam: 4,457 people per square kilometre. Canberra: 424 people per square kilometre. (Sydney: 4,032 people per square kilometre). Next nearest population centre to Amsterdam: Utrecht – 400,000 people only 40 km away. Next nearest (real) population centre to Canberra: Sydney – 4.6 million people 300 km away. Total surface area of Holland: 41,543 square km. Surface area of Victoria: 227,000 square km. There is a completely different spatial paradigm here — even in the ACT — that needs to be accepted. Zealotry for a cause needs to be removed from the argument.

Driving from Canberra to Brisbane is the same as driving from Brugge (in Belgium) to Cairo (yes . . . in Egypt).

We’ve mentioned this before, There are cities just as dense or more dense that have lower cycling rates than Canberra , London is a good example just 1% . If I could substitute the words of Bill Clinton(its the economy stupid) ‘Its the infrastructure stupid!”

Rubbish, we could have the best infrastructure in the world with one whole lane of northbourne dedicated to cyclists and the rates of people riding would barely change.

People have kids to drop at school, jobs that don’t have showers available, medical conditions, things to do, require their car during the day and it is freezing 6 months a year

#22
Okwhatever2:01 pm, 16 Aug 11

I am constantly surprised by the influence pedal power has on our city (thanks for stuffing up the roundabouts you fools). As a member of the motorcycle community it disgusts me that so much weight is given to their demands while the motorcycle community has actually had conditions worsened in relation to severity of injury. Lets put more needless metal poled signs around the roads, lets build more speed humps and lets also install armco railings that will cheese grate a motorcyclists instead of reducing injury.

Pedal power just pushes all those nice happy green fuzzy buttons don’t they? It’s discrimination I say.

#23
BicycleCanberra2:09 pm, 16 Aug 11

shadow boxer said :

Rubbish, we could have the best infrastructure in the world with one whole lane of northbourne dedicated to cyclists and the rates of people riding would barely change.

People have kids to drop at school, jobs that don’t have showers available, medical conditions, things to do, require their car during the day and it is freezing 6 months a year

I think the countries that have the mildest temperatures throughout the year have low cycling rates,
Denmark, Germany and Holland have long cold dark winters much colder that Canberra but still maintain high cycling rates during Winter. Sorry, but just excuses!

http://youtu.be/FXw_t172BKY

#24
shadow boxer2:28 pm, 16 Aug 11

BicycleCanberra said :

shadow boxer said :

Rubbish, we could have the best infrastructure in the world with one whole lane of northbourne dedicated to cyclists and the rates of people riding would barely change.

People have kids to drop at school, jobs that don’t have showers available, medical conditions, things to do, require their car during the day and it is freezing 6 months a year

I think the countries that have the mildest temperatures throughout the year have low cycling rates,
Denmark, Germany and Holland have long cold dark winters much colder that Canberra but still maintain high cycling rates during Winter. Sorry, but just excuses!

http://youtu.be/FXw_t172BKY

Excuses for what ? this may come as as a major, major shock to you in your cocoon of smugness but, wait for it, “most people have no interest in cycling to work “.

#25
niftydog2:30 pm, 16 Aug 11

doomguy1001 said :

You want the dedicated bike lanes? Amsterdam style? Pay rego…

I do. Probably 95% of cyclists do. So where’s our updated/improved infrastructure already?!

doomguy1001 said :

…cyclists using the road based bike lanes have been getting a free ride

You people keep saying that, but nobody has yet offered me rebates on my rego, my taxes or my rates for all the days I cycle instead of driving. What gives?

If enough people want change or development of cycling infrastructure, why can’t they get it? The people who ACTUALLY USE this infrastructure that WE ALL PAY FOR are just trying to tell you that it’s broken.

The 100 year old plan for the city, it’s resemblance (or otherwise) to a city in the Netherlands, it’s population density and all the other crap that comes up on this topic is all completely irrelevant.

#26
shadow boxer2:37 pm, 16 Aug 11

niftydog said :

doomguy1001 said :

You want the dedicated bike lanes? Amsterdam style? Pay rego…

I do. Probably 95% of cyclists do. So where’s our updated/improved infrastructure already?!

doomguy1001 said :

…cyclists using the road based bike lanes have been getting a free ride

You people keep saying that, but nobody has yet offered me rebates on my rego, my taxes or my rates for all the days I cycle instead of driving. What gives?

If enough people want change or development of cycling infrastructure, why can’t they get it? The people who ACTUALLY USE this infrastructure that WE ALL PAY FOR are just trying to tell you that it’s broken.

The 100 year old plan for the city, it’s resemblance (or otherwise) to a city in the Netherlands, it’s population density and all the other crap that comes up on this topic is all completely irrelevant.

Well at least that’s an easy one, you can’t get it because all your proposals involve inconveniencing the majority of road users. whats next dedicated motorbike lanes ?

If the off road bike paths aren’t up to scratch by all means campaign to get them fixed, most of us will support you.

#27
triffid2:41 pm, 16 Aug 11

BicycleCanberra said :

Lets not get carried away here, all we are talking about is having separate cycle facilities that improve safety , not trying to change a car centric culture, one that used to use bikes more that cars half a century ago.

Really? And your evidence for this might be . . . Because, as someone who can actually remember back almost half a century, that sure isn’t my recollection. My instinct also tells me (as someone who once managed an inner-capital-city bicycle store in a recent past life) that if you were doing a comparative analysis of bike vs car sales in 1961, as against bike vs car sales in 2011, that you’d find much greater bike sales — and, one presumes, use — now (in fact, it’s about par, now, if I recall: sell 1 million cars – sell 1 million bicycles).

My point is that this isn’t ‘Field of Dreams’. If you build it, they won’t come! shadow boxer is bang on there. To continue this sophistry of holding up Copenhagen and Amsterdam as paragons of how things might be done does not — in my view — do the cause any favours. Why not? Because the sub-text of doing so is riven with ‘cultural change’ in flashing neon lights, while simultaneously remaining oblivious to the elephant in the room in the form of the reality of the spatial paradigm semi-unique to our surroundings. It’s a confused message full of static.

Just come up with the compelling, persuasive, argument that identifies and answers the need — now and projected — that has a foresight attuned to domestic realities. Then build the case that it IS Field of Dreams. And realise that even people like me, who once upon a time would ride up to 1000 km a week (yes . . . a thousand) and who were staunch advocates of bicycle use, will likely never be converted back from the convenience that the pragmatic use of any of my tin boxes with wheels affords.

#28
Skyring2:54 pm, 16 Aug 11

dpm said :

shadow boxer said :

And while i’m at it why do we have pedestrian lights on c’wealth ave disrupting peak hour traffic for months for floriade when 100 metres down the road people can walk underneath the bridge and into the park.

Hmmm, that’s actually a damn good point! My (unfortunate) guess is that without the lights, most people were trying to play frogger to save thesleves a 100m walk…..

If the lights weren’t there, people – especially the elderly and those with kids – would save themselves a 450m walk by just walking across the road. And it is 450m – just check Google Maps here.

I’ll say it again. It takes 30 seconds out of your trip for a few weeks each year. If you are ready to dump your happiness for something so trivial, then you need to think about your life values a bit more.

#29
triffid2:56 pm, 16 Aug 11

BicycleCanberra said :

Denmark, Germany and Holland have long cold dark winters much colder that Canberra but still maintain high cycling rates during Winter. Sorry, but just excuses!

What? So now it’s what, as case of, “Was machen sie hier? Vy are you not ze bicycle to verk riden? Vy, back ins ze faterland, ve would to work riden in schnee zwei meter deep und our handen und fus to ice become! You are veek und of excuses voll!”

Sorry . . . lost me for good there. I’ve been on a chain gang / hammer head ride in Belgium, in winter, more than once. Done it. Over it. No abiding desire to do it again. Ever. Not even in a positively tropical Canberra winter.

Like I said earlier . . . it wouldn’t hurt to take the zealotry out of the argument.

#30
niftydog3:06 pm, 16 Aug 11

shadow boxer said :

…all your proposals involve inconveniencing the majority of road users.

This is Pedal Powers idea. Pedal Power does not speak for me.

It’s not just that the shared paths are dodgy. The entire system is piecemeal, poorly planned, inadequate or non-existent in newer suburbs and not keeping pace with the growth in cycling.

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