Pascal/Bikes (ZC)

There were several very interesting principles that were presented in the videos. I was most surprised to hear that the Dutch have the highest proportion of bicycle trips per capita of anywhere in the world. Given that the Netherlands is only 16th in the world in terms of population density, I was anticipating that they would be ranked around 16th with regard to most bicycle usage as well. This discrepancy is most likely due to the Dutch’s inclination to adapt their urban planning to include biker safety into consideration. This is very much unlike in many places throughout the United States. Thus, the tailoring of road design to adapt to biker safety is a key feature that jumped out to me without question. 2 key principles that are mentioned as tools by which they protect the biker are pedestrian transitions that are very clearly signaled to the drivers, and protective barriers designed to prevent a worst-case scenario that could result in a fatal accident.

The intersection I chose is one that I bike through multiple times per week. This is by my own choice, as I bike through that area for exercise alone, but the intersection still has many shortfalls that could potentially endanger bikers. The “bike lane” on this road is simply the shoulder of the road on the proper side. The first change that I would make is to expand the bike lane itself and include the traditional Dutch protective barrier between the road and the bike path. A byproduct of this change would also be the de-facto existence of a separate path on which bikes can operate, where they are not at risk of collision road traffic. Another step would be to remove the trees from the bottom right corner of the picture. Though these trees are planted for aesthetic pleasure, they leave cyclists at risk of being hit from a car that is moving right to left. Cars coming from the right side approach the intersection on a turn, and cannot see the bikers who may be crossing the road, approaching the intersection from the bottom, upwards. The most likely scenario that results in a fatal accident is if a car moving as previously describes catches a yellow light, and accelerates to a speed beyond which they would not be able to stop in time if a biker appeared from behind the trees. I would tailor my changes to try and prevent that most likely scenario.

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2 thoughts on “Pascal/Bikes (ZC)

  1. I found the cultural difference in bike preference in the U.S. and Dutch very interesting as well. The ratio between bicycles to humans in Dutch is amazing. I agree with you that the big reason behind that number is Dutch’s bike-friendly city design. Did you know another reason is the polders? Due to the polders, most of the Dutch land is flat, and due to almost none inclination, the riding bike is easy and comfortable in the Netherland. One of the videos explains red bike lane in Dutch has only small friction which helps to ride bikes; I found this very interesting too. From reading your reconstruction, I realize that there weren’t many trees in the Netherland’s bike land. Like you point out, I agree it is due to a clear and safe view of the traffic. Good catch and also thanks for the good writing.

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  2. Hi there,
    I think your reconstruction of your bike path works very well. I like how you chose a spot you routinely bike. Additionally the removal of the trees is a very great and creative way to ensure safety for the biker. Removing the trees could even expand the bike path so that there is more room for a barrier. I too thought the usage of the barrier by the Dutch is something Americans should implement more routinely throughout the country.

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