Looking down on cyclists

As it turns out it can be very enjoyable to look down on cyclists…. As long as it is from a helicopter!

One of my readers recently informed me that a Dutch broadcasting society had made some of their raw footage freely available. The images are from the VPRO program “Nederland van Boven” (Netherlands from Above) that was based on the 2008 BBC program “Britain from Above”. The raw footage shot from a helicopter  -even a lot of images that didn’t end up in the final program-  can be downloaded from the internet and people are encouraged to use it in their own videos. Since the helicopter crew had filmed a very familiar spot I had to take up that invitation.

That spot is the very busy square “Smakkelaarsveld” in Utrecht. A place that is always full with people cycling, because it is very close to the railway station and also because all the main cycle routes of Utrecht meet there.

Utrecht main cycle routes
Map of the main Utrecht cycle routes. The red dot is 'Smakkelaarsveld", the point where all routes come together right next to Utrecht's Central Railway Station. No wonder it is so busy there.

I combined the professional images from the helicopter with footage that I had already shot at this place. My most viewed video was shot here. And I – made – several – other – videos – here. Last weeks Barbie dolls were also placed here. I think these new pictures from above give you an even better understanding of the cycling conditions at this point. There is great separated cycling infrastructure but it is a bit overcrowded. Resulting in a loosely organised chaos of people cycling in every direction. But all in all it still works well!  Especially considering this is actually a building site. In 5 to 10 years time when all the construction around the Railway Station will be finished it will be a totally different place here. But we’ll see that in yet another video.

A new Smakkelaarsveld video: combined pictures from the ground and from the sky.

5 thoughts on “Looking down on cyclists

  1. Perhaps the Smakkelaarsveld should have a bicycle roundabout in the future. A properly designed one, that is, not the rubbish from Michielsgestel. And one lane only, going round in one direction. I imagine it would keep the flow going better than an intersection

    1. The map here shows only those routes the city thinks are main routes. In reality there are far more routes and far more streets with cycling infrastructure (almost all major streets) as you can see in OpenStreetMap. The few red lines you see in OpenStreetMap are the national cycle routes but they have nothing to do with main routes in the city.

  2. The bike-parking lot’s size is truly revealed from the gradual zoom-out of the aerial shot. Thanks for the imagery.

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