Thursday, January 04, 2007

Cycling progress in the Netherlands

An article on Fietsniews (Bike News, December 29, 2006) in the Netherlands looks at some new developments for bike commuters: "The bike is faster on the commuter route between Delft and Pijnacker. Well, drivers ought to know about that. And they will, with posted comparisons of travel time along the way." Cyclists have been aware that they could outpace cars on this short (less than 4 km) drive from the small town of Pijnacker into the city of Delft. Bikeways along the road allow the cyclists to speed past traffic jams. "So for 2007, they're planning to flash digital comparisons of the travel times on the information signs. Cyclists and drivers can see with their own eyes who's fastest."

In another part of this project, "Wachttijdvoorspellers" (Waiting-time count-down clocks) are being added to the intersections with traffic lights, beginning with one at a busy intersection in Delft, and followed by 8 to 10 additional ones elsewhere along the route. This is primarily to improve safety for cyclists. Project spokesman Van Norden explains 'By predicting the waiting time, we encourage more cyclists to just wait for the light to turn green. This works particularly well with long wait times." (On this particular route, though, cyclists wait an average of only 15-20 seconds.

The photo is of a bike-path crossing in Hoorn, another city in the Netherlands. Here, a sensor was recently added so that cyclists and pedestrians don't have to push the button to activate the traffic light. Elsewhere in the Netherlands, some traffic sensors detect bikes approaching intersections so that the light turns green just as they get there. Thanks to for the link. The header above links to the Fietsniews article, in Dutch

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