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Bike News Roundup: Amsterdam was not always a great place to cycle

It’s time for the weekly Bike News Roundup! As always this is an open thread.

First up, if you think Seattle will never be as bike friendly in Amsterdam because cycling is just in their blood, think again. Here’s a great video depicting a dangerous, car-filled Amsterdam with few cycle paths (and, accordingly, relatively few people cycling). Remind you of any place?

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4 responses to “Bike News Roundup: Amsterdam was not always a great place to cycle”

  1. What do I think of the video on how to use intersections? I think two things. First, though it’s often in the interest of pedestrians and cyclists to cross at crosswalks and wait for green, and while it’s obviously a dick move to cut someone off jaywalking, if there’s nobody else at the intersection don’t feel bad about going through red. There’s nothing wrong with waiting for green and actually I wait unnecessarily all the time for various reasons, but there should be no compulsion to do so. And texting while walking is totally OK as long as you’re aware of your surroundings. Put down the phone crossing intersections and driveways, but because you’re not moving very fast you have plenty of time between them.

    Second, I see way more drivers blocking crosswalks and fiddling with phones than cyclists in Seattle. Actually, I see more drivers going the wrong way down streets, too. How many times do drivers go the wrong way down NE 44th St heading west toward 5th Ave NE? Actually today I saw a truck speeding down the Ave switch to the oncoming lane for half a block before making a left. Some go the wrong way around traffic circles, which sadly seems to correlate with failing to check for traffic. I guess what I’m saying is that if I’m going to accept cars have any place on my roads their drivers had better start representing themselves as better ambassadors to me.

    1. Gary

      Texting while walking is a good way to have someone slap your phone out of your hand and run off with it. There is a steady stream of these muggings in the U district. It’s not a free phone, it’s a $600 computer and you need to recognize that you are a walking target.

  2. That Amsterdam video is well timed, as I’m moving there from Seattle (by way of India) presently. It’s hard to imagine without the cycletracks, but I did quickly notice how wide the streets are, which many in Seattle bemoan as a liability. Once you use well-designed streets with pedestrian, cyclist, car, and transit separation, you see that building-to-building width as a strength. Provided you can get past the love of on-street parking.

    I’m reminded of some time ago in Munich when I asked how they decided to build their cycle tracks (which are relatively new) and got a very German answer: “Gas became expensive, so we stopped driving so much.”

  3. Also, the reason people are tripping over the street crossing in Leek is because it’s idiotic. People are using it wrong because it’s designed wrong. There’s no reason to not be able to cross the street in a single light phase in a direct straight line.

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