The O bike experience
|O Bikes in Rotterdam|
|Parking O Bikes in Rotterdam|
- Cargo bike deliveries
- Lots of expensive top-end cars charging - we wondered if being electric gets a privileged parking place, which might be a force for change?
- The City Centre has enormously wide roads but there were plenty of places where 6 lane highways had been taken down to a tram route and a cycle road and one lane traffic in each direction. The traffic was dense but did not seem gridlocked.
- There was a tunnel under the river. This had presumably been built for pedestrians some decades ago, but it would have been a long walk, and it has now been taken over almost entirely by cyclists, including the escalators. Who says you can’t take a bike on an escalator?
|Bikes on Escalator|
- The Signage: I expect this was the same in the other Dutch cities, but this was the first time I had needed to navigate rather than be led by a local. At many important intersections there was a map of the network (see below). This intersection (and map) would be numbered, and all the other numbered intersections were shown on the map. Navigation then becomes remembering a set of numbers to cycle through and then following signs on the lamposts - e.g. the sign in the picture below shows us the route from 58 to 14 or to 17. (Note the finger signs the major cycle route signs
- Mopeds and scooters on the cycle paths. This was true in all cities, but most noticeable in Rotterdam, and may be a symptom of the larger proportion of the population who have not grown up with the cycle culture. We asked about this and were told it was a considerable problem: they go much faster than the bulk of the cycle traffic, they make a lot of noise and they smell. It is quite possible that laws may change in the future to classify even these low CC motorbikes in the same way as higher capacity motorbikes, and get them off the cycle tracks and onto the road with cars - and presumably into helmets
Random Facts of Interest from Rotterdam Presentation
- Modal share cycle use in Rotterdam is low for the NL at 23% for < 5km. There has been a growth of 60% in recent years and it is still growing at 10% p.a. - they want to be a bicycle city. They have built 600 km of cycle lanes in city - mostly in the last 10 years. This expenditure has mostly been subsidised by national air quality incentives.
- They are working on green waves for bikes
- Signposting which way to go at junctions
- Faster lights for bikes when its raining
- Intelligent systems to estimate how many cyclists in the queue at lights and to keep the lights green long enough to ensure they all cross
- Indicators to tell you whether you are going the right speed to get a green at the next light
- There is an issue in the south of the city where there has been significant recent growth in the population. Many of these are immigrants without a cycling culture and tending to worship cars as status symbols. Children get overweight, modal cycle use is much lower, women don't know how to ride, people can't maintain bikes. They are spending a lot of money on changing culture here...
- They have been trying to work out where the cycle parking issues are. They paid €20M to build 5000 parking places at the station. They now need more and are looking for government help
- At the main city centre parking spots they have pushchairs to borrow (so parents can take babies) and bike repair hubs.
- In residential areas where houses don't have parking for bikes the council offers to build bike lockers (huts) on streets in parking places and they subsidise citizens to make on street cycle stands. So, if the residents of a street ask for more bike parking to replace car parking places they do this.
- They subsidise boats to be ferries across the river and cyclists only pay as pedestrians (around €1 per trip). In addition there are a couple of bridges and the tunnel. They don't expect people to detour too far to cross the river. (In Southampton it costs £7.50 for a day return on the one boat across the river, the alternative being a 5 mile detour).
- All ships in Rotterdam and up-river plug in to shore electrical supplies to improve air quality. However this is not mandated for ships at Hook of Holland and docks adjacent to the sea (although our Ferry did plug-in on arrival at Hook of Holland.)