For those wishing to see a bit of Europe, the GUARDIAN is offering a photo essay on a small slice of Amsterdam biking.
We rented a simple cruiser for about $8 at MacBike and set off along the canals, busy streets and humpbacked bridges exploring. We found not only a total accommodation for bikes, but the bicycle is pretty much the prime mover for these Dutch folks.
Bike lanes ase set apart from both the cars and pedestrians with a clearly marked surface. Walkers who wander onto the bike lane are often greeted with the annoying tingle of the thumb bell on the handlebars of a bike.
We didn’t see a lot of bikers whizzing past at breakneck speed. Most were just moving from point to point, careful to avoid street car tracks which can be tricky to navigate with a bicycle.
There are also a variety of bikes. Some are pedicab-style with a box on the front, often as not filled with children. Most were simple and without the massive gears we see here. Theft is a big problem, so massive chain locks are standard equipment.
The bikes are so dominant they have special traffic signals for bikers and everything seems to flow quite nicely as bikes, pedestrians, and cars all take their turns at intersections.
As for making it happen here, we suggest some designated commuter paths along existing canal banks or new rights of way down alley ways in the north end as well as requiring bike paths wide enough to handle the flow without pedestrian conflict in new developments.
Painting a stripe along State, Fairview, or other major streets invites disaster.
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