Kenniscentrum voor fietsbeleid

Networks and principal routes

Designing and implementing a good bicycle route network has gradually become the basis of bicycle policies in the Netherlands. From the nineteen eighties this has been routine procedure:  it is hardly effective to make ‘incidental’ stretches of road and intersections or some routes bicycle-friendly; there should be an all-encompassing network. In the new edition of the design manual for bicycle traffic the advice on network formation has been greatly updated (New Ontwerpwijzer voor fietsvriendelijke infrastructuur). To that purpose a study was conducted into actual practices of local authorities in using methods and models for network formation ('No single method is followed to the end').

In recent years two trends have become visible regarding bicycle networks. First of all: when main cycling routes coincide with traffic arteries for motor vehicles, this often has negative consequences for cyclists. The larger number of conflicts leads to more traffic danger, hindrance and delay. In a number of Dutch cities attempts have been made - often successfully - to disentangle the cycling and vehicle networks. See the situation for the bicycle networks in Zwolle, Groningen and Veenendaal in Fietsberaad publication 7. Continuous and integral: The cycling policies of Groningen and other European cycling cities. When disentangling these networks, the alternative is increasingly the bicycle street; streets in residential areas where bicycle traffic has the right of way and cars are visitors only (Fietsberaad publication 6. Bicycle streets in principal bicycle routes; practical applications and Bicycle streets, beyond fashionable). Secondly, the selection of a limited number of routes that are crucial to the network and providing  ‘extra quality’ on those routes. No expenses are spared to provide optimal comfort, with optimal length and right of way, see for instance Breda (Seven kilometres right of way for cyclists), Nijmegen (Three years of a new bicycle policy in Nijmegen) and Venlo (‘A delight to cycle here’). Three towns that are most definitely not classic cycling towns. Focussing all attention on a limited number of routes is there clearly the means to provide a strong stimulus to bicycle use over a short time period.

Report 2005 A report produced by DHV for the Bicycle Consultancy about the use of models and network planning in practice. On behalf of the new Design Indicator.
Article 2005 The town of Venlo focuses its bicycle policies on the construction of a backbone: a super-quality central cycling route.