Most Dutch cycle paths are too narrow and too busy, new report shows

According to research by Bouwend Nederland (BNL), cycle paths in the Netherlands are often too narrow and too busy.

In Zeeland, the problem is particularly apparent. There, BNL reports that 90% of the busy cycle paths are too narrow: that’s 154km out of a total of 171km in the province. But it’s a problem all over the Netherlands. BNL says that 81% of the busy cycle paths used by schoolchildren in the Netherlands are not wide enough to sustain the traffic that passes through them.

That’s particularly concerning as high school students prepare to return to school during a pandemic, a time in which cycling is encouraged over public transport use. A further problem is the relatively high proportion of cycling paths that are unpaved or have unfinished surfaces: BNL reports that 18% of the busy paths school-goers take fall into this category.

Rectifying this situation will not be cheap: BNL says that depending on the type of solution municipalities choose, the costs will be between €413 million and €2.2 billion. Their report calls for an additional annual budget of €1 billion euros for municipal infrastructure.

“In order to maintain the quality of our municipal infrastructure, such as bicycle routes, and thus the safety of the users, substantial investments must be made,” says Maxime Verhagen, chairman of Bouwend Nederland. “We all want to cycle. That is healthy, good for the environment and helps moderate the pressure on other means of transport. Then we must also be prepared to keep our cycling network in top condition.”

Do you find Dutch cycle paths to be too narrow? Or is this a sneaky scheme by Bouwend Nederland to get some new infrastructure contracts? Let us know your theory in the comments below.

Feature Image: 1681551/Pixabay

Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.


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