It must be nice to be Dutch: While the rest of us are dealing with ensuring reasonable access to reproductive healthcare and violent seasonal pumpkin festivals, in the Netherlands, people are taking to the streets to protest poor bike traffic planning.
While we’ve fretted about the possibility that there are TOO MANY bikers in the Low Country before, the truth is more complicated than that.
Citylab’s Sarah Goodyear points out that despite our utopian mental images of happy Dutchmen gleefully coasting along their superior bike infrastructure, even the most advanced of biking societies still have logistical speed bumps to work out when it comes to bike traffic. Case in point: In Utrecht, where an estimated third of trips are taken on two wheels, certain intersections have cyclists waiting so long for a green that some of them have just started running the light. And then the police started doing what they do best: writing tickets. The resulting backup last week was more than 100 bikers deep and rattled the city to its polite and measured core.
So last week, volunteers from the local chapter of Cyclists’ Union broke out the radical tools of social change — sweet rolls and pamphlets — to soothe their impatient compatriots and gently called attention to another of the poorly designed intersections last week. And it’s working! A day after the first incident, city planners conceded that the traffic signal’s timing was off, and readjusted it to cycle more cyclists through faster.