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CYCLING-AND-SOCIETY  May 2012

CYCLING-AND-SOCIETY May 2012

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Subject:

Re: I'm visiting Denmark

From:

John Meudell <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Cycling and Society Research Group discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 2 May 2012 13:07:19 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (173 lines)

Some years ago I spent three weeks cycling around Denmark and Sweden, after
having spent some considerable years living and working in the Netherlands.
As an engineering designer I got the distinct impression that, in
infrastructure design, there were implicit prioritizations at work:
pedestrians first, then cyclists and public transport second, with motor
vehicles third:

At ferries, pedestrians are directed to get on first, then cyclists then
motor vehicles taking up any residual space...and getting bumped if there
wasn't any;

At roundabouts, at-grade cycle lanes around the edges had dragon's teeth
give way marking for motor vehicles on both sides of the cycle lane, clearly
identifying and reinforcing priority;

At traffic lights, in addition to advanced stop lines, there were two sets
of green lights, the first for cyclists, the second for motor vehicles.
Cyclists were given about 30-60 seconds ahead of the motor vehicle green to
get up to a stable speed and into the cycle lanes (though I never actually
timed the delay), much safer than the way we operate ASL's in the UK.

On grade separated cycle paths passing bus stops, cyclists are required to
stop to allow bus passengers to leave and enter buses.

The commonality of solutions suggested an implicit hierarchy being reflected
on what was presented on the ground.


By way of contrast the Dutch have tended to apply traditional priorities
(give way to traffic  from the right ) for all modes at non-controlled
junctions, and treat all modes equally at lights controlled junctions (there
are virtually no advanced stop lines in the Netherlands....almost always
grade separation at controlled junctions).  Phase time at lights is shared
out between the modes....though I don't on what basis (I have the Uk
guidance...which too often don't take into take into account differing
speed/clearance times for cyclist)

At bus stops, cyclists seem to have priority and bus passengers mount and
de-mount to small islands (when the cycle path doesn't go around the back of
the shelter).

The Dutch have been struggling with the roundabout concept for many years
and even in the 90's local authorities were experimenting with urban
roundabout and mini roundabout configurations primarily, I believe, because
they were trying to maintain the traditional junction prioritization through
roundabouts.  This, of course, doesn't work, because it allows traffic
entering a roundabout over traffic on the roundabout.  This is why for many
years they tended to only to use roundabouts at major junctions where they
could apply lights control.  More recently urban roundabout design has
tended to stabilize, with cyclists being taken off the carriageway lanes and
onto a distinct grade separated peripheral path, but still with priority
over vehicles entering or leaving the roundabout on the main carriageways.

So the Dutch tend to let road users  (and bus passengers) sort it out
themselves except when they decide to control flows...at which point it
becomes much more "ordered".  The Danish approach seems different......


In my engineering career I have frequently seen underlying internal
cultures influencing technical design strongly so it struck me that there
seemed to be implicit hierarchy of use in design for cyclists in play which
contrasted significantly between Denmark and the Netherlands.  I have loads
of photos to illustrate the above in operation in the Netherlands but not so
many from Denmark (though may still have some taken in on my visit to
Denmark that illustrate the above, though I may have to scan them into
electronic format).

In contrast the UK approach can only be characterised as the "chaos of
ignorance".......

Cheers

John Meudell




-----Original Message-----
From: Cycling and Society Research Group discussion list
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Oosterhuis Harry
(HISTORY)
Sent: 02 May 2012 11:04
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: I'm visiting Denmark

Dear John,

What is, in your view, the fundamental difference between the Danish and
Dutch bicycle infrastructure (and therefore perhaps also cycle policies and
national cycling cultures)? One of the latest developments in Dutch bicycle
policies concerns the construction of 'cycle-highways' in order to promote
long-distance commuting and increasing cycling speeds, but I agree that the
speeds of many Dutch cyclists is relatively low. For the average Dutchman,
cycling is not a competitive sport ('hot and sweaty'), but just an easy way
to get around. Probably the low speed has also to do with the particular
history of bicycling in the Netherlands: the national image of the bicycle
has been framed in terms of middle-class respectability and democracy: every
citizen (upper and lower class, young and old, men and women) should be able
to cycle. The typical Dutch bicycle (solid, black, chain-guard, dress-guard
etc. and putting the rider in an upright position) mirrors this image. 

Best,

Harry  


___________________________________
Dr. Harry Oosterhuis
Department of History
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Maastricht University
PO Box 616/Grote Gracht 90-92
6200 MD Maastricht
T 00-31-(0)43-3883262
[log in to unmask]
http://www.fdcw.unimaas.nl/staff/oosterhuis
http://www.fasos-research.nl/sts/cyclinghistory
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Cycling and Society Research Group discussion list
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of John Meudell
Sent: woensdag 2 mei 2012 11:34
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: I'm visiting Denmark

Peter

You might want to try a bit of island hopping and check out the convenience
of cycle and pedestrian priorities on the ferries.  Although it's many years
since I cycled around  Denmark I was struck by the fundamental difference
underlying Danish and Dutch approaches to cycling provision.

And likewise the difference in typical cycling speeds....the Danish seem so
much more competitive!

Cheers

John Meudell








-----Original Message-----
From: Cycling and Society Research Group discussion list
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Peter R.H. Wood
Sent: 01 May 2012 21:38
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: I'm visiting Denmark

Hello, I'm going on an extended trip to Denmark tomorrow evening. 

Can anyone suggest cycling things to do, and people to meet?

Currently I'm in Copenhagen from the 3rd to the 7th, University of Aalborg
mobilities course 8th-11th, then no plans until my flight from Copenhagen on
the evening of the 14th. 

Is there anyone on the list that lives in Denmark and wants to meet up for a
coffee, or can suggest interesting cycling things that I might want to
see/video/photograph? I'm researching how cycling fits into urban lives in
Inner London, so that'd be anything interesting really, from notable pieces
of infrastructure, interesting examples of Danish cycling culture or just
any notable bloggers/activists/campaigners that might want to meet up for an
informal chat.   

(Interesting non-cycling recommendations also welcome)

Pete

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