BICYCLE DUTCH

All about cycling in the Netherlands

The type of cycling I am proud to be an ambassador for

The best thing about cycling is that you have direct contact with other people. Not just eye contact, you can also talk to another road user. In Dutch rush hours it can become very crowded at certain locations. At such times and places things don’t always go right. When I filmed a busy intersection in Utrecht in the last week of August, it struck me that people already said sorry to each other when they made just the slightest mistake. I recorded at least three instances where you could actually hear people apologising for something that didn’t quite went well. Perhaps not what you would expect, especially not on that particular day. I recorded this video on the hottest day of August at almost the hottest time of the day. It was 31 degrees Celsius (87.8F). But instead of getting hot-tempered most people simply cycled on as they always do and they were generally very polite to each other. Cycling is good for a society, in so many ways!

sorry

“Sorry!” Things can sometimes go slightly wrong at the busiest intersection in Utrecht (Smakkelaarsveld). At peak times there can be 37,000 cyclists per day at this location (source: City of Utrecht). It is still a building site.

The hottest day of the month and the hottest time at that day. That's when I filmed the video in this post. And yet it was all so calm and quiet and polite!

The hottest day of the month and the hottest time at that day. That’s when I filmed the video in this post. And yet it was all so calm and quiet and polite! (Pictures KNMI)

So what’s that about being an ambassador? That cycling is good for a society is what I want to share with the world. That is what this blog and all my videos are about. Cycling is safe, healthy and good for the environment. When there is a lot of cycling there is less noise and the air quality improves. Cycling is cheap and not only for the person cycling. Building cycling infrastructure is also cheap, much cheaper than building for the car and it also takes up far less valuable space of our towns and cities. I am proud of the Dutch cycling culture and I would be happy if some of what we have could also be enjoyed by other people around the world. That is why I have given presentations all over the world; Budapest, Sydney, Saint Petersburg. The first was in cooperation with the Dutch Cycling Embassy. Last Friday this DCE celebrated its 5-year-anniversary. The DCE aims to be:

“an intermediary between the demand for Dutch cycling expertise and Dutch parties that can deliver. The Dutch Cycling Embassy is a public private network for sustainable bicycle inclusive mobility. We represent the best of Dutch Cycling: knowledge, experience and experts offered by private companies, NGO’s, research institutions, national and local governments.”

There was a small role for me in the celebrations. As a news item on the DCE website describes:

“The celebration was kicked off with a lunch and a brief speech about the achievement of DCE from the past five years.

After that, the 50th participant of DCE was welcomed, Mark Wagenbuur from Bicycle Dutch. His blogs and videos about the Dutch cycling culture are well-known, both nationally and internationally. He was also awarded to be an ambassador of Dutch Cycling Embassy, for his efforts to share the Dutch Cycling culture via blogs and videos.

The festival continued with various workshops on cycling highways and cycling behavior.”

The certificate in which I am appointed "Dutch Cycling Ambassador" by the Dutch Cycling Embassy.

The certificate in which I am appointed “Dutch Cycling Ambassador” by the director of the Dutch Cycling Embassy.

So there you have it. I have acted as a cycling ambassador since 2009, but I have now also been officially recognised to be just that. What will this mean exactly? Well, I don’t even know myself, really. I am not planning to change anything about my blog. I have made things a bit more professional. There is an official main address now: www.bicycledutch.nl and I opened an e-mail address; info@bicycledutch.nl. You may see some of my videos used on the website of the DCE in future and I might accept an invitation to speak somewhere about cycling in the Netherlands (but I already did that anyway). What is really good for me is that I can forward many of the questions I get to the DCE. They are far better at giving a good contact for the best bicycle parking rack or a good road designer than I am able to do. I will continue to do my best to share knowledge and images about cycling in the Netherlands on this blog in a way that is easy to understand and attractive for a large audience. That I now have a ‘seal of approval’ and recognition of the official Dutch institute that does the same professionally, means a lot to me.

Cycling rush hour in the summer heat in Utrecht

12 comments on “The type of cycling I am proud to be an ambassador for

  1. disgruntled
    11 September 2016

    Congratulations. Ambassadors normally get a flag on their vehicle, so perhaps something for your bike?

  2. walkeaglerock
    9 September 2016

    Congratulations Mark! I just can’t imagine where US bicycle planning would be if not for your blogging and videos. In retrospect, it’s amazing that something compelled you to film your mundane commutes and bicycle traffic in the Netherlands and share it with the world. You’ve helped push NACTO and US advocacy in general toward having higher standards. You’ve also helped put to rest arguments from VC’s and engineers as to why we can’t have separated infrastructure.

    We need State Transportation agencies to adopt CROW /Dutch bike design guides, otherwise big budget projects will continue to skimp on the bicycle facilities and give us mere paint because it’s considered acceptable in the highway design manuals.

  3. Mirjam Borsboom
    7 September 2016

    What a pleasure to read this blog, Mark. Thanks for the kind words! Your work is very important for both many countries all over the world as well for our own country. I am very proud of you being our first official Cycling Ambassador at the Dutch Cycling Embassy, welcome to the Team! Let’s continue this already fruitful cooperation together in the future resulting hopefully in many more people (starting) cycling and to support with designing cycling friendly cities all around the world. Thanks you again for all of your blogs, movies and objective view and we’ll meet again soon!

  4. troy
    7 September 2016

    Mark, you are bike mayor of the World. Your videos have even been on the news here. Perhaps you should set up a patreon page or something. Thanks for all your work. You have given so much to advocates all over the world.

  5. Rob Wells
    7 September 2016

    Congratulations! Your work is excellent and the recognition is very well deserved.

  6. Martin Schotte
    6 September 2016

    Well done! You really deserved it! Greetings from Germany!

  7. Dennis Hindman
    6 September 2016

    I recall Hillie Taalens, from CROW, stating to me in September of 2011 that she had never heard of the website “A View From The Cycle Path” when she and several other Dutch planners and traffic engineers were participating in a ThinkBike workshop in Los Angeles. I thought that the website by that time would have been well known in traffic engineering in the Netherlands. Mark, now the award that you have been given states that your blog and videos are known nationally and internationally. I frequently mention your blog to bicycling advocates and traffic engineers in Los Angeles.

    https://ladotbikeblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/thinkbike-la-presentation-16-9.pdf

    To show some of the recent progression in bicycle infrastructure installations in the states, here’s a video of a recent Webinar in the U.S. about separated bike lane design. From 51:30 through 1:14:28 is a presentation by Mike Amsden, the assistant director of transportation planning for the Chicago Department of Transportation. He discusses the reasons for the types of designs used and the results in that city. Included is the protected bike lanes on Dearborn St. and towards the end he goes over a design used for a protected intersection.

    The U.S. Federal Highway Administration recently released a 16 page report of what they learned about bicycle planning and design in the Netherlands after a week long visit there in August of 2015.

    https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/network_planning_design/

  8. tassiedi
    6 September 2016

    Well done, Mark, your award is well deserved. I love reading your blog and learning about how better practice bike infrastructure looks and works in practice.

  9. Roger Depledge
    6 September 2016

    Oh, well done, Mark, er, Your Excellency!

  10. Richard Tulloch
    6 September 2016

    You’re an inspiration, Mark (and so is Dutch cycling in general). Keep up the great work!

  11. Doug T.
    6 September 2016

    Congratulations, Mark. This honor is well deserved.

  12. Hi Mark. Happy birth month. Not that it takes mothers a month to deliver, but you know what I mean. We should do something nice for you, find a good bottle of wine, or maybe a new bell for your handlebars, or I know, here: https://imgflip.com/i/1a3dv6. Without your efforts, I probably would never be the guy I am.

    And it looks like if the Dutch say sorry quite that often, apparently the Canadians didn’t leave without inserting out culture into the Netherlands in 1945. I know I say sorry instinctively like that.

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This entry was posted on 6 September 2016 by in Original posts and tagged , , .

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