All about cycling in the Netherlands

My blog in 2012

As the year 2012 comes to an end people look back to see what happened this year. To somehow frame what you cannot frame we see lists appear everywhere. So why don’t I join in the fun and make some lists of my own.

The top 10 of most viewed posts in 2012:

1. Spectacular New Floating Cycle Roundabout
a post about a rather unusual piece of cycle infrastructure in Eindhoven

2. Road signs for cycling in the Netherlands
apparently people needed a guide to the typical Dutch road signs for cycling.

3. Trouble in paradise?
no, cycling in the Netherlands has not turned into hell on earth as we were led to believe.

4. Lycra in the streets of the Netherlands
of course we also have people cycling for sports in lycra, we just don’t call them cyclists…

5. Cycling past red lights; it’s often legal in the Netherlands
with the right design, people on bikes don’t get near the red lights for motorized traffic!

6. Seeing how the neighbours do it
report of a trip to London resulted in a video with the differences side by side.

7. Judge + bicycle = Culture Shock
a judge from India was shocked when they asked him if he’d like to ride a bicycle in The Hague.

8. No Copenhagen, that’s not good enough
the first ‘cycle super highway’ in Copenhagen is about as ‘super’ as the ones in London.

9. Before and after; comparing 2012 with 1957
looking back long enough you do get to see what the Dutch changed in their cities.

10. “Separate where needed, mix where possible”
that there aren’t cycle paths everywhere does not mean you have to ride with heavy traffic in the Netherlands!

Hovenring Floating Bicycle Roundabout

A new landmark for Eindhoven: the Hovenring floating bicycle roundabout. Apparently biggest is best for a lot of people. Even though this is not what cycling in the Netherlands is about, I am glad it drew a lot of people to my blog.

The top 5 of least viewed posts in 2012:

1. Cycle Route Tilburg – Oisterwijk

2. Summer cycling time-lapse

3. Queen’s Day Cycling

4. Cycling to the London Olympics

5. Recreational cycle rush hour

These posts really deserved more views!

Tilburg - Oisterwijk cycle route

The Tilburg – Oisterwijk intercity cycle route built in 1977 (!) is a true cycle super highway that was well ahead of its time! This is what people abroad should study! Unfortunately this was posted only on YouTube initially, in the time A View from the Cycle Path had temporarily stopped and I hadn’t started my own blog yet. So maybe because I only “back-posted” it on my own blog, it remained the least viewed post of 2012…

Some posts that I am particularly fond of:

1. Miffy on her bicycle

2. I want to see you; use your lights

3. Putting a shirt on while riding a bike

These will give you a smile on your face… at least that’s what they do to me!

Miffy Nijntje

Miffy on her bicycle and Nijntje on her fiets. It is a very Dutch bicycle too: upright, with fenders and a chain guard!

Personal Highlights:

Finally, my personal highlight of the year was of course the day in July on which I gave a presentation to 25 US students at City Hall in ‘s-Hertogenbosch after which I received a Spanish award! (The trip to Budapest was a very close second!)

frontpage news

The day after I received the Spanish award it was frontpage news in the ‘s-Hertogenbosch paper.

Thank you for your interest in my blog. Thank you for your questions and your remarks. I really need your input to know what I should show you next or what I should explain better about cycling in the Netherlands. Please continue to be my inspiration!

I wish you all a great New Year’s Eve and a very Happy 2013!

8 comments on “My blog in 2012

  1. bicycledutch
    30 December 2012

    Thanks all for your kind words and tips for future posts!

  2. theurbancountry
    30 December 2012

    +1 Mark. I really appreciate the effort you put into exposing the great things that can be found in the Netherlands to the rest of the world! Cheers, James

  3. walkeaglerock
    30 December 2012

    Mark I love your blog– I always got giddy whenever you’d post new videos (before you started blogging). Once you started your regular blogging here, I’d eagerly try to get through your post before heading to class, which typically started one hour after you’d post your videos (and if I still had reading to do for class, I’d try to get through so I could read your post or watch the attached video before walking to class).

    I’m not sure if you fully understand this, but your videos and blog posts have been game changing for advocates in the US, at least those of us in Los Angeles. You’ve shed light onto what we should aspire to when advocating for infrastructure here.

    One thing I’ve been curious about is the history of Dutch intersection treatment. Obviously the Dutch have perfected how to treat intersections for cyclists now, but I imagine the free dedicated right turn and complete separation at intersections weren’t always around. How did it progress and why? The Danes seem they are still working out kinks at intersections the Dutch have managed to solve already (though oddly, in Malmö – as I’ve commented before – their intersections are treated more like the Dutch intersections despite the proximity to Copenhagen).

    And if you really need inspiration for future topics (hah– like we’re the ones doing YOU a favor! ) it’d be great to learn in greater detail:

    – where the Dutch use bike boxes. In the US we seem to erroneously place bike boxes as our first (and basically only) option to “help” cyclists get through intersections.

    – What kind of destinations/distances the Dutch use way-finding for

    – I know there’s a post on A View From the Cycle Path about it (I miss Hembrow’s blogging, he was great too!), but to see a ride along the whole “first bike path in the Netherlands” would be fun. And, I say this in jest, to find out if the bike path was constructed in 1885 or 1887 as these are the conflicting dates in the video . And for the super nerds, it’d be cool to also see the adjacent facilities that may have replaced the bike path’s utilitarian use.

    – I’m personally increasingly fascinated by the potential of advisory bike lanes on residential streets. If you could do a post highlighting where the Dutch use advisory bike lanes, how they came about or why the Dutch don’t use sharrows– that’d be awesome. In the US we are steering towards sharrows in situations the Dutch would place advisory bike lanes but I think I’m starting to understand why advisory bike lanes may be superior.

    Firstly, advisory bike lanes seem to psychologically narrow the street, especially when the advisory lanes are painted a different color. In this way are superior over sharrows in that they calm the street whereas sharrows simply show where to expect cyclists without any psychological calming.

    Also, advisory lanes let cyclists cycle out of the way of motorists. As I’ve realized in LA, even if a motorist is patient (which isn’t common, unfortunately) it remains subjectively uncomfortable to place oneself directly in front of the path of a motorist.

    – It’d also be great (but perhaps counterintuitive) to see a post of bad Dutch bicycle infrastructure. I think I saw a clip from the Netherlands where a bus pulled into the bike lane to pick up/drop off passengers and cyclists were forced to move around the bus on the left as is common here in the US. Naturally, the street seemed pretty calm (perhaps even cobblestone) and it didn’t seem like it was a big deal but I’m sure there are examples of bad infra in the Netherlands.

    – How the Dutch avoid conflict with trash bins and bike lanes, if there are any special tricks. Here bike lanes typically get turned into trash bin lanes once a week (

    I hope at least one of those suggestions has helped. Thank you again for your incredible work, it is invaluable and enlightening.


    • Robert
      11 October 2015

      The Dutch almost never use advance stop lines/bike boxes. The only reason they may build them now is when you are coming from a 30 km/h zone and you do not even have room for a cycle lane which can be controlled separately and there is no room to transition into a cycle path before the stop line. Rarely do the Dutch signalize 30 km/h zone – arterial road intersections and even rarer is there a lack of space. `

  4. Edward
    29 December 2012

    Thanks for all of your posts and comments Mark. This blog is very valuable for those of us who live far away.

    I am interested in how the different types of infrastructure join each other; for example, the transition from quiet streets to lanes next to busier roads and then to entirely segregated bike paths.

    You have posted a lot on this subject but I also enjoy the ‘before and after’ posts which show how infrastructure has been improved over time. Even more than that, what is particularly valuable for us in the English-speaking world are images and explanations of places which have been retrofitted. That is, from next to no infrastructure to infrastructure of a good standard. We are very often still at that very early stage.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

  5. Vladimir Zlokazov
    28 December 2012

    Thanks for what you’re doing Mark! Your videos and posts are really an inspiration and great help!

  6. Mark Small
    27 December 2012

    Thanks for all of your blog posts this year, I’ve learned a lot since I started reading these and watching your videos 🙂

  7. Kevin Champagne
    27 December 2012

    I enjoyed and learned from everyone I read. Thanks for a great year of blogs. I thought :” I want to see you: Use your lights.” was a good one.

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This entry was posted on 27 December 2012 by in Original posts and tagged .


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