25 Ways to cross a major road

Two weeks ago I showed you that major roads do not have to be major barriers for cyclists by giving you an example of a big junction in Utrecht. But big roads are everywhere of course. They make it possible to divert most motorized through traffic around cities. At least that is how they are increasingly used in the Netherlands. ‘s-Hertogenbosch is an example I would like to show you today.

‘s-Hertogenbosch is passed by two major motorways. The main North-South route in the Netherlands is the A2 from Amsterdam to Maastricht, originally it ran right through the city but the diversion around the city was finished from 1968 to 1970. The A59 runs East-West and the part around ‘s-Hertogenbosch was finished in 1970. These two motorways are connected South of the city by a connecting road (Randweg ‘s-Hertogenbosch) that was also started in the 1970s but only completely opened in March 2011.

These roads could have formed a major barrier for cyclists wanting to go in and out of the city, or – as is the case in the North and North-East – from one part of the city to the other. But that is not how it is.

25 ways to cross a motorway
Map of 's-Hertogenbosch with the 25 places where cyclists can cross the major highways around the city.

There are 25 places where you can safely cross these roads by bicycle. In the video I show them all:

  • 14 underpasses
  • 10 overpasses
  • 1 level crossing

One of the underpasses is still under construction but expected to open in 2012. Another of the underpasses is actually a set of three underpasses. Two under the motorway entrances and exits and one under the actual motorway. Almost all the crossings are different. So you could actually say there are 25 ways to cross a major road. And that is just for the roads around the city. There are more crossings possible on the city’s territory where the A2 goes to the North and also where the A59 goes to the East. But it went a bit too far to include those crossings as well. I think this video already makes perfectly clear that cycling is never an after thought in road and junction design in the Netherlands and it hasn’t been for at least 40 years.

25 Ways to cross a major road

17 thoughts on “25 Ways to cross a major road

  1. How is it overpasses and underpasses in the Netherlands work so well? In the USA, the noise from traffic and the openness of the freeway makes it so people don’t want to use the overpass and even WIDE underpasses and elevated roads in the US are actually a barrier instead of a connection.

  2. I might do a version from Toronto as well. Fortunately we do not have as many highways as Chicago because we have no good ways to cross them either.

  3. i loved your video and see how netherland really is a Foward country, anyway seeing this i realice that in Bogotá Colombia we are not that bad, we have several crossing like this ones the only thing is that here in that spot thieves scare people so people prefer take the dangerous roads. I will try to do a vídeo a bout the good Bike crossinngs in Bogotá. altough they are more bad ones that goos ones.

  4. You don’t need to feel discriminated against in south London, Marc, Boris has improved nothing in the areas I cycle around, Brent, Barnet, and Harrow either – in fact he has made things worse. Boris is the “Cycling Mayor” who has done nothing for cyclists anywhere. I hope people remember that at the election.

  5. Nice video, which shows how it really is. It is not necessary to “keep your wits about you” (quote: Boris Johnson) to cross large road junctions by bike in the Netherlands.

    This doesn’t only apply to Den Bosch, of course, but the whole country.

    1. This video really shows what can be done. It just take willpower, vision and changing priorities.
      And yes, I would love to know what Dutch people would think if they saw how London cyclists are left to fend for their lives. For a cycling Mayor, Boris has improved NOTHING in the areas I cycle around (Croydon, Sutton, Lambeth boroughs especially). It’s the cycling land that time and Boris forgot!

    2. That was the prime message here: for every major road in the Netherlands somebody thought about how cyclists were going to use or cross it. There is not a single major road where cycling wasn’t considered some way or the other in the design.

      1. Exactly. London has some much to learn. I hope the tide is turning and that we are where the Dutch were in the 1970s when they said enough is enough or `genoeg is genoeg’ as they say there. Lucky people. I’m jeolous frankly….

  6. In Chicago there are 0 places to safely cross the highways. And there are probably 50 crossings. Maybe I’ll make the anti-video for your article.

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