And the winner is: Zwolle!

Today Zwolle was announced to be the winner of the title “Best Cycling City of the Netherlands in 2014”! It was no secret that Zwolle was my favorite of the five finalists after I visited and portrayed them all in the past months. So I am very happy and I would like to congratulate Zwolle with this honourable title!

The high speed cycle route from Zwolle to Hattem.

The chair of the Jury, director-general of Rijkswaterstaat, Jan Hendrik Dronkers calls Zwolle “a city where people cycling feel welcome and this can also be seen in the figures”.

This week the magazine of the Cyclists’ Union gave spokesperson Hans Hop of the local chapter of the Union some phrases with regard to cycling in Zwolle, to which he responded as follows.

Biggest challenge?
“The lack of bicycle parking facilities, especially in the city centre and the station. We have written a report on this parking problem that was well received, and that will be used to take action.”

Greatest improvement?
“The many innovations, such as good bicycle tunnels, traffic light waiting time indicators and the bicycle roundabout. We are fortunate that councillors and officials in Zwolle appreciate our input. Although we only have a few active people, we are taken seriously. Zwolle has also taken the right path with developing bicycle streets, in which the bicycle has priority.”

What is the effect of the Best Cycling City Election ?
“This election is great because it draws attention to a lot of things. It was picked up well. People ask us: ‘Zwolle Best Cycling City – why exactly?’ And then they come up with things they are not happy about. That is good.”

“There are always areas to improve. For instance we think that bicycle signage could be better. We also advocate for bicycle facilities around larger stores. Zwolle will get a new Ikea, a new Hornbach and a new Zara. Developers forget the bike all the time. The municipality can make sure they do keep cycling in mind in the planning phase. And we would like new paths to be wider. You need to anticipate that there will be more people cycling in the future”.

So even in the “Best Cycling City of the Netherlands in 2014” there is always something to strive for and that is exactly what this election aims to boost. That cities compete with each other, so awareness is raised about the strong and weak points of cycling in a city, which in the end could lead to a better cycling climate.

The innovative ‘bicycle roundabout‘.

Zwolle presents its cycling policies in the following video. (In Dutch but the images are telling!)





9 thoughts on “And the winner is: Zwolle!

  1. Main thing Zwolle needs is the “protected intersection” or the protected roundabout, ideally the latter, and conversion of most of the cycle lanes into cycle paths. Also some more bus stop bypasses and probably more sheltered bike parking.

  2. I agree, gefeliciteerd Zwolle!

    I think basically that stunning bridge and the amazing roudabout design did it, over it’s rivals! Mind you, I am surprised that Groningen was not nominated as a contender?

  3. Love that innovative roundabout! The path for those cyclists going straight on through the roundabout could divert from the path of those turning left just a bit earlier and just a bit further to the right so that motorists can be sure a couple of seconds earlier if they have to stop to give way or not. Otherwise it is perfect. I’d love this design to catch on throughout the Netherlands, because the only way it can spread to other countries is by becoming more or less a standard in yours. Oh, and congratulations Zwolle!

  4. Thanks for providing this video. It makes a good reference for the best aspects of Dutch infrastructure. I also enjoyed the scene transitions with Ilse jumping on and off the bikes. Illegal in Australia and so normal in The Netherlands.

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