Last Friday, 23rd of March, a delegation from Sweden visited Utrecht. On this cold windy day, 4 employees of Movea Trafikkonsult AB were welcomed by Herbert Tiemens of the Province of Utrecht and Robert Hulshof of CROW in the morning.
Herbert Tiemens presented various aspects of bicycle policies in the Netherlands, elaborating on various themes ranging from cycle paths at provincial level and municipality level, intermodality, smart cycling, behavioural change and road safety. Especially road safety is a big issue in Sweden, and this topic (including questions regarding the introduction of the e-bike, cycling for elderly and the helmets discussion) was therefore discussed in more detail in an interactive discussion. Following the first presentation, Robert Hulshof of presented CROW’s new research projects and preliminary results. This presentation was of a more technical nature and it provided food for discussion, as similar projects have been conducted in the Swedish context. As such, this morning was full of knowledge sharing and interactive discussions. After the lunch, Bas Hendriksen of Loendersloot Groep organised a Dutch Cycling Tour through Utrecht. After a short visit to the Town Hall and Utrecht Central Station’s new bicycle parking facilities, the group cycled via the Dafne Schippersbrug above the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal, named after one of the best Dutch athletes, from the centre of Utrecht to Leidsche Rijn, a neighbourhood that is up and running.
With the development of Leidsche Rijn, plans for the construction of infrastructure are also made, including cycle tracks and public transport. The ultimate network will not be completed for some years to come. Yet accessibility is one of the main features the Municipality of Utrecht is focusing on, so consequently the local authorities are making a great effort to provide for these facilities. The second and concluding part of the cycling tour included mostly Utrecht city centre and adjacent neighbourhoods. Utrecht is a rapidly growing city that is convinced the bicycle can and should play a major role in keeping the city liveable, accessible and economically strong. This is an important reason to give the bicycle precedence in the mobility policies of the municipality, which is reflected in many ‘bicycle facts’ that were cited during the tour.
We thank Movea for visiting the Netherlands and their interest in Dutch cycling. Convinced that they will take a whole load of new information and impressions with them so Sweden, we hope to see them another time soon!