All about cycling in the Netherlands
A before and after in Maerlantstraat in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (a.k.a. Den Bosch) in the Netherlands. A main cycle route that went through an “ordinary residential street”. For motorised traffic the street is not a through street and it therefore had “standard junctions”. This means that all vehicles (including cyclists) coming from the right have priority. It was already a 30km/h zone and the road surface of bricks was suitable for such a street.
Now the street was transformed to be more clearly a main cycle route. That means the road surface is now smooth red asphalt and the road has gotten priority over side streets on every junction. That it is a cycle street should be clear from the red surface. That smooth red asphalt is also more convenient to ride on with a bicycle. Cars are guests in this street which means they cannot overtake cyclists and should generally give more room to cyclists.
The transformation of this street already took place in the second half of 2011. Around the same time ‘s-Hertogenbosch became Fietsstad 2011 (Cycling city 2011). That title didn’t change anything to the activities of the city. There are still a lot of projects going on that have to do with improving the traffic situations in the city. The city took the opportunity to coordinate maintenance works on sewerage and other underground networks with the gas supplier and the electricity network company. As is usual in the Netherlands.
Early 2012 some reports appeared in the press that residents in this changed streets saw some behaviour of drivers that was not in line with the fact that this now is a ‘Fietsstraat’ (Cycle street). Drivers were speeding and not giving cyclists enough room. So the residents made extra signs telling drivers just in what kind of street they were driving. As one resident said: “apparently it isn’t clear to all road users that red asphalt means they are driving in a cycle street with a maximum speed of 30k/h” (18mph). The home made signs have disappeared again. Drivers mostly need some time to adjust to a new situation, but after a while things settle.