CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Debate!

So last night I was talking to two Dutch people about cycling...

(39 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by Wilmington's Cow
  • Latest reply from chdot

No tags yet.


  1. I was out having a few drinks with my Taiko drumming buds, but it wasn't all hard work. One of the class is Dutch (well, half American, but grew up in Dutchland), and she was there with her Dutch husband (well, born in England, but moved to Dutchland when he was 6).

    Anyhoo, we naturally got talking about cycling, since Rebecca had asked me for a PoP poster. Both cycled all the time in Amshterdam (naturally) but neither cycle here. They once got bikes and went along the canal, but were horrified by bikes and pedestrians having to mix, and found it stressful. Some interesting observations in general:

    ASLs
    Why would you want to put yourself directly in front of motorised traffic that is then going to go faster than you?

    Cycle Lanes
    Hang on! People can park in them legally?!?! If you park in one in the Netherlands you'll be towed within 15 minutes. Stop in one on your driving test and you will be failed. Stop to drop someone off and don't check the lane is clear before opening your door and you will be fined.

    Helmets and Hi-Viz
    I'm sure you'll know what they thought of that...

    Left/Right Hooks
    This one I found really interesting. The general principle in Holland is that those going in a straight line have priority. Those who are deviating from that straight line take responsibility for checking the way is clear. Cyclists and pedestrians going straight have priority over a car turning into a junction, for example (they were stunned to find out that that rule also applies to pedestrians here, not that many people know that bit of the Highway Code). Thinking on it, it's perfect logic, the deviation is a manouevre, and therefore requires thought and care (not that driving in a straight line doesn't, but a turn is a naturally more risky move). That's why when you're cycling along and a car passes, but indicates to go into the next road on the right they will then wait for you to re-pass.

    Strict Liability
    I hadn't expected this. It came out of the blue, but Sam mentioned it as being a reason that drivers all over Europe are more careful around cyclists. I've always accepted it might make a bit of a difference, but the view on the continent seems to be that it is a truly major factor.

    Bus Lanes
    Most of the worst cycling incidents involve large vehicles - why would you specifically put buses and bikes into direct conflict?

    In general they were incredibly scathing of Edinburgh Council's attempts to promote cycling (they knew about the 2020 target and so on) with the perfectly succinct line of "You guys are just getting it all wrong." It was hard to disagree.

    Sam has just completed, or is in the process of completing, a big academic report on cycling in Edinburgh, and has done interesting things like mapping where cyclists ride when the cycle lane has a big 'END' painted, thrusting you back out into the road. I hope to be able to get my hands on a copy of the report, it would make interesting reading.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. chdot
    Admin


    Ridiculous

    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. LaidBack
    Member

    but were horrified by bikes and pedestrians having to mix,

    But that does happen in Amsterdam (and many Northern European / Scandinavian towns). if you go on a ferry across from Central Station you'll be a foot passenger surrounded by bikes. They don't seem to mind. You'll also be mixed in with low powered mopeds.
    As other Amsterdam thread comments - are the Dutch not taking a risk letting mopeds and low powered vehicles share the same paths? The are supposedly limited to 25km/h (!)

    On edge of town there are large squares where people would walk and cycle anywhere - no marked lanes. Bikes are just footwear there....

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. ruggtomcat
    Member

    It does happen but not on proper transit routes, its very much 'the little road' and arriving as a pedestrian you have to quickly get used to looking out for the extra curb or be run down by a moped, the most common Amsterdam story. But yeah, cycling here is nuts in comparison.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. Uberuce
    Member

    The Stenhouse path is pretty epic. Going from the NHS building to chdot's photo:

    Fail 1: You join it at a set of lights because they blocked the cycle path with barriers. It'd be better for everyone if you could just nip up the left of the barriers without needing to mount the pavement.

    Fail 2: The rumblestrips, talked about elsewhere, encourage cyclists onto the ped side and pram/wheelchair users vice versa.

    Fail 3: There's a left filter light at the second set you come to, but you can't see it as a pedestrian or cyclist - only the red for straight ahead. If you don't know the junction, it's very tempting to nip across like very pedestrian ever does(except smug white-hat Good Guy Greg wannabes like me who are in sight of toddlers) because it looks like everything coming is redded.

    Fail 4: Deep depression in pavement leading to lamppost. It's okay now, but before the frosts it was so sharp on the edges that you needed Fat Franks or MTB tyres to cross it without risking the wrath of the explosion gnome.

    Fail 5: Bus stop (been temporary for a year) without provision for pedestrians to stand anywhere but right beside puddles and/or fast traffic or in the cycle side. Don't blame them as I cross to 'their' side ever day.

    Fail 6: speed camera obstacle jink

    Fail 7: dismount sign as in chdot's pic.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. wingpig
    Member

    "...those going in a straight line have priority. Those who are deviating from that straight line take responsibility for checking the way is clear."

    I can't remember where it was we went but one of the "driving in foreign" bits in a guide book for somewhere said that vehicles approaching you from the opposite direction but turning across you have priority.

    There was a link to some Hembrow somewhere recently concerning the bus-bike mixing thing and how only idiots would allow it. I'd recommend that segregationalists stop worrying about it so much as far as Edinburgh's concerned as selected Edinburgh bus drivers are the most reliably properly-trained and mindful motor vehicle user group in the city. I let two buses out on the way in this morning and received two waves: both had seen me and would have waited had I steamed past rather than braking and nodding theatrically

    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. Baldcyclist
    Member

    I do find this Dutch comparison thing quite interesting. One comment I would have is that although journey numbers are a lot, they seem to only cycle very short distances.

    So for them the notion that you shouldn't wear cycle specific clothing, or a helmet, or have gears, is probably perfectly reasonable, not just on safety grounds, but in practical not getting sweaty grounds. Why would you get all dressed up to pootle 2 miles down the road (I know I don't when I just cycle to the shops)?

    However, in this country I *think* (may be wrong) that the average distance covered by a regular cyclist is greater than that of our Dutch counterparts. The culture is also very different, we seem to be happy to cycle 15 miles to work, or do some 'leisure' cycling at the weekend, which at least on the surface doesn't seem to be the case over there?

    So the notion that we need to be more like the Dutch for me at least doesn't wash, yes we need better infrastructure, and better understanding between drivers and cyclists, but we do not need to be like Amsterdam.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. "So the notion that we need to be more like the Dutch for me at least doesn't wash, yes we need better infrastructure, and better understanding between drivers and cyclists, but we do not need to be like Amsterdam"

    This is indeed true, but the OP only had one line on clothing, the rest was on infrastructure (could be partly applied), or offence enforcement or driving mindset (would LOVE to have the mindset that when driving you're ultimately responsible for those around you). In those latter respects I think we definitely do need to be more like Amsterdam (though preferably more like Copenhagen).

    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. crowriver
    Member

    I'd rather be in a bus lane (one that's in operation, that is) than mixing it with cement mixer lorries, skip lorries, and artics in the free-for-all lane.

    That said, I'd rather have half decent segregated infrastructure than solely relying upon on-road, advisory, only in operation during peak hours, so-called 'bike lanes', where car drivers randomly park/load/stop to pop to bank/shop/bookies/chat/text on mobile/have an argument...

    Especially when I have my son or daughter with me.

    Could Edinburgh deal with 'mandatory' cycle lanes? Would they be respected or would drivers just park/load/eat pies etc. all over them as they do at the moment?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. SRD
    Member

    'but were horrified by bikes and pedestrians having to mix,'

    contrary to common assumption (including mine several years ago), the canal is not a good route for a first cycle in Edinburgh!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. chdot
    Admin

    "
    Fail 2: The rumblestrips, talked about elsewhere, encourage cyclists onto the ped side and pram/wheelchair users vice versa.

    "


    Wrong way round?

    Incidentally I was there because I was trying to find a 'good' route for a teenager to cycle to Stevenson College.

    Interesting day...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. steveo
    Member

    Mandatory enforced lanes would (have) to be respected. The question is where do you put them? Many roads with bus lanes are already too narrow and I'd argue (in Edinburgh) bus lanes are more important than cycle lanes, more people travel by bus than any other transport method even "we" get the bus on occasion.

    If the lane is to mandatory I'd also argue it must be wider than most of the existing infrastructure. Roads like the older part of Gorgie Road are so narrow at points there isn't the space for the current lanes to be effective never mind something of a comfortable width.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. "I'd rather be in a bus lane (one that's in operation, that is) than mixing it with cement mixer lorries, skip lorries, and artics in the free-for-all lane"

    Yeah, I mentioned that last night - the bus lanes are at least respected by motorists much more than the bike lanes!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. chdot
    Admin

    "contrary to common assumption (including mine several years ago), the canal is not a good route for a first cycle in Edinburgh!"

    Not as good as the other path networks which are wider and don't have narrow bridges.

    There are also more and more people using them these days.

    Not too bad mid-week/non commuting times...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. Min
    Member

    "ASLs
    Why would you want to put yourself directly in front of motorised traffic that is then going to go faster than you?"

    Because it is not the motorists passing you that are the problem, it is the ones turning left or right. If you are at the front then you stand a slightly greater chance of being able to get through the junction before someone drives over you.

    I also agree with others about the bus lanes - IMO they are the only thing that make cycling in Edinburgh bearable although of course when you get close to a junction drivers just swerve into you from the car lane. At least you don't constantly have them shaving past a few mm away up until that point.

    "In general they were incredibly scathing of Edinburgh Council's attempts to promote cycling (they knew about the 2020 target and so on) with the perfectly succinct line of "You guys are just getting it all wrong.""

    Yes, have to agree totally with that one!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. SRD
    Member

    "You guys are just getting it all wrong."

    fine for pub talk, but sounds like just the sort of euro-put down that pushes everyone's buttons and raises everyone's hackles (to mix a few metaphors). Just as bad as the anti-cyclists from here who say 'we can never be like Amsterdam...' etc.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  17. twinspark
    Member

    I'm a returning cyclist having previously used the North Edinburgh paths, path to Roseburn and the general roads 10 years or so ago.

    Twice now in the last few weeks I've had occasion to go along the Stenhouse path and both times I've thought "this can't be right". I get the impression that lip service is paid to providing cycling facilities across the city. Things are just not fully thought through.

    When designing the facilities (although I doubt they are designed!) I don't think anybody considers how a cyclist accesses and exits the facilities. I mean seriously do they expect somebody to dismount on the cycling side, to walk over the pedestrian side and then lower their bike onto the road and continue pedalling from there? Seriously!? Mind you as both a pedestrian and a motorist I think there is an awful lot of lack of thinking as to "where do we go from here" whilst navigating the various transport networks.

    The Dutch system is interesting but not utopian - although a lot better than here. I found it diconcerting driving in the Netherlands to have bikes shoot out of side exits, meander across onto the wrong side of the road (as carrying too much speed for the corner) before returning to the right side of the road.

    Oh yes almost got left hooked this morning by a car pulling alongside on the run up to a junction and then indicating left whilst still alongside me - unbelievable! In that respect the Dutch system is much much better.

    To redress the balance, having stopped in the ASL at the next junction I was annoyed by a female cyclist cycling through the ASL and stopping across the pedestrian crossing (at least they did stop for the red light!). Grrr!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. "fine for pub talk, but sounds like just the sort of euro-put down that pushes everyone's buttons and raises everyone's hackles (to mix a few metaphors). Just as bad as the anti-cyclists from here who say 'we can never be like Amsterdam...' etc."

    It fitted with the context of the rest of the discussion, trust me. Wasn't a 'euro-put down in the Copenhagenise sense...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. steveo
    Member

    Yup, my policy on "off-road" cycle lanes is that if can't easily access it with the racer I don't use it.

    Generally that means riding past the mess at Broomhouse every morning because getting to it from my junction means turning left after the junction, do a U turn or going up on the pavement for a few meters and getting back off it at the end of guided bus lane means dropping down a kerb or riding on the pavement for a good few meters. I don't even use it if I'm going all the way to the Gyle. Total waste of space.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  20. SRD
    Member

    "annoyed by a female cyclist cycling through the ASL and stopping across the pedestrian crossing"

    I always find it is blokes doing this to me. EXTREMELY annoying, especially as I almost always overtake them later (despite not being a very fast cyclist). Vaguely reassuring to hear that female cyclists do it too...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. Uberuce
    Member

    @Chdot I missed this till today, but the shared-use sign by the strip you pictured has the lanes the wrong way round, which is the right way round for rumbles, but hey ho.

    For the college, would the the least car-ish be the Union, get off just before the back path into Hermiston Gait, then Cutlins Road, Bankhead Terrace, Bankhead Crossway, Stevenson? It's about a mile's detour, but other than that...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  22. cc
    Member

    One comment I would have is that although journey numbers are a lot, they seem to only cycle very short distances.

    What makes you say that? I don't think that can be true. For instance it's directly contradicted by David Hembrow when he points out how far rural children cycle to school.

    And the Netherlands has many excellent long distance cycle highways.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. cc
    Member

    fine for pub talk, but sounds like just the sort of euro-put down that pushes everyone's buttons and raises everyone's hackles (to mix a few metaphors). Just as bad as the anti-cyclists from here who say 'we can never be like Amsterdam...' etc.

    To me it sounded like a well-argued and rational critique of Edinburgh cycling facilities, law and policies. What they say is absolutely right.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. crowriver
    Member

    @cc, from the article you posted:

    "In the Netherlands, 35% of all journeys under 7.5 km are already by bicycle. Also, 15% of journeys between 7.5 km and 15 km take place by bike. For all distances over 15 km, the numbers drop to just 3% of journeys. "

    So, mostly shorter journeys. I wonder what the percentages are like in Scotland or even Edinburgh? I doubt anyone has any reliable figures, but I'd imagine none of the distances gets into double figure percentages at all...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. Baldcyclist
    Member

    "
    What makes you say that? I don't think that can be true. For instance it's directly contradicted by David Hembrow when he points out how far rural children cycle to school.
    "

    Well...it is a little bit of a leap of faith, but the 'average' Dutch person cycles 2.5km per day (http://cyclinginfo.co.uk/blog/734/cycling/cycling-rates-by-country/), and given the cycling rate there is 99.1% (or something of that order). Then it is reasonable to assume that lots of people are cycling short distances every day, that is not to say of course that 'some' people are cycling longer distances.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. gembo
    Member

    My reading of the situation in Amsterdam and Copenhagen is that there was support from the politicians which contributed to the necessary legislative and infrastructural contexts which makes these cities cycle friendly. We have a situation in Edinburgh prior to a local election where there is some money for change but it is unclear what the incoming administration will do. Preventing cars from entering the centre of the city currently seen as a vote loser. There is also a feint suggestion of an anti-cycling ethos. anth could maybe ask the Dutch drummers if such anti-cycling attitudes are prevalent in amsterdam. I imagine not.

    My view is that we will never have a similar scenario to Amsterdam or Copenhagen but that we can work with what we have e.g. Chance of more funding, the Lothian bus cycle friendly approach to build a stronger consensus / pro-cycling lobby.

    did the mostly Dutch man drive around Edinburgh conducting his study? Maybe they should get on to the north Edinburgh network of paths on bikes, these paths are quite good.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. chdot
    Admin

    "My reading of the situation in Amsterdam and Copenhagen is that there was support from the politicians which contributed to the necessary legislative and infrastructural contexts which makes these cities cycle friendly."

    In addition there were also pro-active officials who did things without direct encouragement from politicians and did more when no-one complained or politicians discovered that people liked the new infrastructure/approach. (20-30 years ago).

    In Edinburgh there have 'always' been fairly willing middle rank officials and (often) less enthusiastic senior officials dealing with bold or nervous or indifferent politicians.

    Certainly a lot depends on what happens at and after the election.

    I think it's safe to say that there will no longer be a LibDem/SNP coalition. I think an SNP /LibDem one is also unlikely.

    I'm confident that either Labour or SNP will get the most seats (it'll be close), but think it unlikely that any two parties (able to work together) would have an overall majority.

    We'll see!!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. Instography
    Member

    @crowriver. I should have data for Scotland on that. If I have time tomorrow ... I'll dig it out.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  29. cc
    Member

    and given the cycling rate there is 99.1% (or something of that order)

    ISTR the percentage of journeys made by bicycle varies from 65% (the highest in the world) in Groningen to something in the 20% range in some other not so lucky places.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. Dave
    Member

    "In the Netherlands, 35% of all journeys under 7.5 km are already by bicycle. Also, 15% of journeys between 7.5 km and 15 km take place by bike. For all distances over 15 km, the numbers drop to just 3% of journeys. "

    So, mostly shorter journeys. I wonder what the percentages are like in Scotland or even Edinburgh? I doubt anyone has any reliable figures, but I'd imagine none of the distances gets into double figure percentages at all...

    I don't really understand why we're convinced that the Dutch don't cycle long distances. Is the "problem" that there's such a huge amount of errand running by bike that /comparatively/ most Dutch bike journeys are short?

    15km is just under 10 miles, or 20 miles a day. That figure quoted above is saying that one in six people living in South Queensferry, Balerno, Penicuik, Dalkeith, Prestonpans or anywhere closer would be biking into central Edinburgh every day.

    That's a crushing amount of long distance riding compared with the tiny amount we do in the UK. We're distance amateurs!

    Posted 1 year ago #

RSS feed for this topic

Reply »

You must log in to post.


Video embedded using Easy Video Embed plugin