Rush Hour in Utrecht

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlQYP4WN-5w[/youtube]

Morning rush hour in Utrecht, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands, and there’s no traffic jams — just bikes. Lots of bikes.

Like most Dutch cities, bicycles enjoy pride of place in Utrecht, where they are used for roughly one-third of all trips made each day. What impresses me most about this video is not the sheer number of bicycles you see in this video, it’s what you don’t see: collisions, cyclist-pedestrian conflicts, helmets.

In North America, where cities like Montreal and New York are aggressively promoting bike use, there are constant complaints from drivers about unruly cyclists. What those drivers don’t seem to understand is the extent to which the rules of the road are stacked against cyclists. If someone on a bike is riding the wrong way down a one-way street, it’s because the street runs in a single direction for the benefit of drivers and no one else. If they fail to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, again, it’s because those stop signs exist to control the movement of cars — bicycles would do far better with a yield.

Utrecht suggests that having streets that are designed with cyclists in mind, as well as cars, buses and pedestrians, leads to a far better environment for everyone involved.

This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Friday August 13 2010at 04:08 am , filed under Europe, Public Space, Transportation, Video and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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