Rush Hour in Utrecht (The Netherlands)

From markenlei on YouTube.

19 Responses to “Rush Hour in Utrecht (The Netherlands)”

  • Cullen Carter says:

    A rush hour that consists mainly of bikes and a few buses? I love it!!!

  • Scott says:

    That is the coolest thing ever! I so want to move there!! Wow, that made my day!

  • Helton says:

    I dare you to say how many particular automobiles appeared on the video ;o)
    Fantastic! A city where we can actually talk (and be heard) on the streets…

  • Eddie says:

    Traffic, perhaps, but the rush is only video speed. Note the acts of civility among those commuters. There is lot to learn from watching this. When you are on a bike your proximity to your fellow commuter does not isolate you inside a few thousand pounds of steel encasement like a car does. If modes of transport perhaps shape our humanity to some degree then bikes must surely enhance the quality of our connection to one another.

  • Bob says:

    Wow…….this is what heaven must look like…….

  • Frank says:

    Notice the type of bikes, too. All or most utilitarian – not get my bike’s weight down so I go fast – just real life.

  • Milk says:

    Very interesting video. A few things I notice; Not one overweight person, no helmets, chain guards, no derailleurs, “regular” clothing…….nice….

  • Cullen Carter says:

    Are recumbents a rarity in The Netherlands?

  • john Riley says:

    Is there a normal speed version of this? This is like watching a cartoon.

  • Xtra says:

    The complete lack of helmets is really stands out.

  • Rick says:

    I was equally impressed with the number of buses and the lack of Lycra.

  • Roland Smith says:

    Some comments from a native Dutchman;

    Bicycles are for the most part a transportation device here, not a hobby. Only people who have to go really far tend (20+ km) to wear special clothes for commuting, although people generally dress lighter on a bike for obvious reasons. Only racers wear lycra. Riding fast is usually not a target. I’d estimate an avarage speed of around 15 km/h (10 mph).

    Utrecht (like many of our cities) predates cars by several hundreds of years. They were never built with cars in mind. A lot of city centers these days are being kept car-free, because there’s just no place to stash them. And even if cars are allowed, there are (luckily) only limited numbers of parking spots. If I go to the center of my hometown, I go by bike because parking the car is a hassle and expensive. Cycling is easier and faster.

    Helmets are not compulsory here, because there is good infrastructure separating cars from bikes. It is felt that making helmets compulsory would deter people from cycling. Also, cyclists are protected by law. In an accident between a driver and a cyclist, the driver is held responsible unless he can prove that the cyclist acted irresponsibly. And rightly so, IMHO. The party that can do the most damage should carry the greater responsibility.

    The reason for all the utilitatian bikes is practicality. You can take luggage with you easily or add a child seat. And it tends to rain here, so any bike without mudgards and a chainguard will get you very dirty.

    Recumenbents are quite rare because there are so many DF bikes. :-) It used to be said that the Netherlands holds more bikes than people. And that’s probably still true. There are plenty of ‘bent manufacturers here; Challenge, Optima Cycles, Nazca, Flevobike. AFAIK, most of their production is exported. However, on my morning commute on my Hurricane, I tend to see one or two other ‘bent riders.

  • Alan says:

    Roland,

    Thanks very much for the insider’s perspective.

    Alan

  • John Lascurettes says:

    Hey guy at the 1:00 mark. You’re a jerk. But keep riding.

  • Will says:

    Could be worse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIthEM6pDqw

  • Nicolas says:

    I live in Rennes, France, and here we have quite correct public transportation. The city centers are quite dense and allow short distances to services and work to those who live around. But we also have suburbs developped on the American model. Maybe they are not so large but going to work by bike or public transportation becomes quite complicated. In the place where I lived 3 years ago (in the surburbs), it took me 1 hour to go to work by bus although it was at only 10 km. And this is a quite common situation. Having children to drive to school prior to going to work makes things even more complicated.
    So this is something I need to understand. How is the town organized in the Netherlands ? I suppose that there are also many people who live out of the city centers. And in this little movie, I saw only 3 or 4 individual cars for hundreds of cyclists. WHat is their secret ?

  • john Riley says:

    Since the Netherlands is a lot smaller than France, I am guessing the housing might not be as spread out. My recollection is that the typical distance traveled by bicycle in the Netherlands is half the 10 km distance you mentioned.

    Do you feel that you can’t commute on the roads?

  • Nicolas says:

    On the roads that desserve suburbs, the morning and evening rushes make bike commuting quite uncomfortable. When there are some alternatives, they are rare or built on leisure path ways, so often longer, which is quite unfair.

  • Wilm says:

    I used to go to school close to where that video was shot, commuting in from a village 35 kms away. I did that by bus, TBH, but along the road in (as with almost any such road in the Netherlands) there’s a physically separate cycle lane. Most of my friends had schools somewhat closer (15 km or less) and used that, as did most other people on shopping errands etc.

 
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