Friday, September 05, 2008

Biking to the Supermarket in Amsterdam

There's a great little video showing a persons bike ride to the supermarket in Amsterdam. Click here then click on the video. No "action." Just a slice of life.

Why yes, that is what biking in Amsterdam is like.

But I want to point out something, as a radical. Just notice how few cars there are (that's good!) but notice how those very few cars force all those bikes into a tiny teeny little part of the road.

Amsterdam is a great cycling town. But it could be a lot better.

For starters, bike paths should be three bikes wide. You should be able to bike side-by-side with your friend or lover (it's one of the true joys of life) and still have bikes pass.

I bike to the supermarket here in Astoria. It's a shorter ride and less romantic, but man, nothing carries groceries like big saddle bags.


amsterdamize said...

thanks for highlighting that post!

I like your radical thoughts, as any Amsterdammer would, I just like to say more than 50% of all the bike lanes ARE 3 bikes wide. This compact city will give to the cyclist what it can, where it can.

Some roads are wide enough, but don't need bike lanes for the nature and infrastructure of the road (in this video you see tram rails, which are also used as bus lane, and most cars just use that part too, when there are more cyclist during rush hour, so lots of road sharing. Others would say: it's so dangerous! It's not, as every road user is in tune with this. The second part of the road in the video highlights the fact that it is going to lead to a busy roundabout and more residential parking etc, so, there's the start of the bike lane, less wide than usual, but that's in synch with the usual amount of traffic and the need for segregation of all parts (tram lines, road, parking, cycling, pedestrians) in a still narrow area. Notice how the roundabout has a segregated bicycle infrastructure, with right of way over cars.

The only person who actually made the bike lane seem a bit narrow was the tourist. He didn't know that you don't stay on the bike lane when you decide to stop, certainly not around rush hour. Luckily we can deal with even that :)

Anyway, don't wanna bore you, just saying. Glad you're a fan of this shopping concept too ;-p

Cheers, Marc

amsterdamize said...

PS: there are 3 neighborhood supermarkets very close to where I live (I usually walk it), just like there are in all parts of town (I love dense cities). In this video I passed one of them, coming from the downtown area.