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Old October 25th, 2014, 04:18 AM   #11581
Wilhem275
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Today begins my 3rd month living in NL, so I'm drawing some mid-term conclusions.

I already knew and used the road infrastructure, so there isn't much I needed to get used to (apart from merging tapers ).

In general the infrastructure shows always good quality in terms of design, building and maintenance, much above European average (probably on top).
I was a bit surprised to see how much of the system relies on traffic lights, but the good management makes them perform much better than in the rest of Europe.
Some advanced solutions also to manage public transport among traffic.

Some thoughts about behaviours on the road.
In general, I was expecting a general higher precision in driving (at a German level), for example less erratical driving and better usage of turning signals; sometimes I just see some very clumsy driving
I don't want to make a point here, but I notice a sensible difference in the driving behaviours of immigrants (often more aggressive), I suspect many didn't get their license here.


Crossings. It may sound stupid, but I actually think motorists stop too early for pedestrians at crossings.
"Minimum" is to have cars not hitting me.
"Decent" is to have cars stop when they see me waiting.
"Good" is to have cars stop before I have to wait for them.

Here they stop ten minutes before I can reach the crossing
For sure I'm conditioned by years of habitude in a place that floats between "Minimum" and "Decent" (I tend to stay one step beyond, as a driver), but here I often see traffic stopping for me while at least one or two cars could have passed without me even noticing.



This overkindness goes in total contrast with the aggressive approach of cyclists at intersections. I mean, I agree that pedestrians must not jaywalk on bike paths, but there are some points where a crossing is needed and in no way the pedestrian is granted this, and cyclists will be very aggressive in remarking that (and even if there's a zebra, they often don't give a damn).

Example: http://goo.gl/maps/8p2hD Of course one is supposed to cross also the bike lane, but no zebra there...

The Belgian Road Rules now state that every user has a responsibility towards the weaker one, here it seems like cyclists have absolute sovereign.


Anyway, the big deal, the only thing that really gets me, are mopeds on bike lanes. I hoped for a total ban in the first minute I was here, I still do multiple times every given day.
I won't write a long list of reasons because they're well explained in this article, I'll just point out that:
- what scares me is the mass of these full grown vehicles. I'm not sure I'd want them around even if they actually did 25;
- the right to use bike paths leads a lot of motor vehicles into areas that were meant as peaceful traffic free plazas, and where people won't even expect anything faster than 20;
- the average speed is completely out of control.

I think this whole situation is beyond control and must be stopped now. I see a quantity of near misses, I'm surprised the amount of accidents is not a national priority.
We basically have the same confused cloud of mopeds believing to be at the MotoGP, like in the Italian cities, with the difference that there they endanger themselves in traffic, here they use pedestrians and cyclists as obstacles (and in Italy they must wear a helmet).

The technical level of scooters today allows them to be safely driven in traffic, and I'm pretty sure Dutch car drivers will easily cope with them.
And if some owners prefer to enjoy the protection of bike paths, it's their problem. For sure some car drivers would like to enjoy driving on bike paths as well, but for some reasons it's forbidden...
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Last edited by Wilhem275; October 25th, 2014 at 04:29 AM.
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Old October 25th, 2014, 10:20 AM   #11582
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A4, Leiden

The second 'Limes Aquaduct' opened to traffic this night. Traffic has been shifted onto the new northbound aquaduct, so traffic is now separated.

The image is looking north.


The layout of 1+2+2+1 south of the aquaduct has been critized. It is feared that they both don't have sufficient capacity (flexibility) compared to 2x3. It would've been better with 2x3 plus auxiliary lanes between the two exits that the local lanes serve.
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Old October 25th, 2014, 10:28 AM   #11583
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N15, Maasvlakte

The Colorado Viaduct opened to traffic on October 13. It is located at the former N15 across the 'Maasvlakte', the western part of the Port of Rotterdam. It features grade-separated access into the APM Terminals and Euro Container Terminals. On top is an elevated intersection with Dardanellenstraat.

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Old October 25th, 2014, 06:26 PM   #11584
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Quote:
Anyway, the big deal, the only thing that really gets me, are mopeds on bike lanes. I hoped for a total ban in the first minute I was here, I still do multiple times every given day.
I personally disagree, these are the only way to get around quickly from A to B while avoiding annoying traffic lights ( cycle tunnels), having to drive around places, etc, in a built up area. Motorbike is even slower often, let alone car, or public transport.

Though an e-bike or racing bikes are a decent way to get around too I guess. But meh, motorised is the way forward, only really use the racing bike when I'm drunk or planning to get drunk.

Banning them is nothing more than a blatant attack on mobility. And people rather spend as little time as possible in traffic. Banning them would mean the existing infrastructure, cycle paths, would be much less utalized and thus wasted. Not to mention the extra traffic on the roads for cars, which means more congestion.

I use a scooter or a smaller moped ( Tomos) to go to work or uni daily ( unless it's bad weather, then sometimes depending on where I need to be, a car, or the metro), it's the fastest, cheapest and most practical way to get around. Also most stable ( unaffected by congestion). 5 euros of petrol gets me around for 4 days, while using the metro costs 5 euro every day for the same trips.

Last edited by snowdog; October 25th, 2014 at 06:33 PM.
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Old October 25th, 2014, 08:05 PM   #11585
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilhem275 View Post
Today begins my 3rd month living in NL, so I'm drawing some mid-term conclusions.
[...]

Anyway, the big deal, the only thing that really gets me, are mopeds on bike lanes. I hoped for a total ban in the first minute I was here, I still do multiple times every given day.
Couldn't agree more. Especially the fact that their design (and weight) is generally similar do that of a full blown scooter, they drive faster than 25kph most of the time (and they stink and probably pollute like hell) makes them a very undesirable addition to our bike lanes. We should get rid of them as fast as we can.

I'm not sensitive at all to Snowdog's mobility argument. At the cost of all these downsides, a scooter won't even get you from A to B much faster than a bike most of the time. Besides: since when is traveling faster at the expense of others a human right? I'd say safety and clean air are much more important causes to strive for.
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Last edited by julesstoop; October 25th, 2014 at 11:04 PM.
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Old October 25th, 2014, 10:22 PM   #11586
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julesstoop View Post
C

I'm not sensitive at all to Snowdog's mobility argument. At the cost of all these downsides, a scooter wont get you from A to B much faster than a bike. Besides: since when is traveling faster at the expense of others a human right? I'd say safety and clean air are much more important causes to strive for.
Where do you draw the line ?

Our parents have survived decades of much worse air quality and road safety ?

And a scooter is easily 30-50% faster, even if you're fast cycler ( say 25+ km/h ).

Last edited by snowdog; October 25th, 2014 at 10:32 PM.
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Old October 25th, 2014, 10:48 PM   #11587
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Nobody wants to ban mopeds. I think they are, overall, more efficient and effective than cars in a urban environment. But they have to express their performance on the road, as any motor vehicle.

The point is that today's scooters have a road-wise performance and thus they better mix with cars than with bikes.
The Dutch road infrastructure is designed with very detailed specifications, depending on separate classes of vehicles that will use different paths. Bike lanes are simply not designed to cope with a large amount of fast mopeds.
A motorway could easily accommodate pedestrians walking along its emergency lane, but there are some technical reasons which suggested to ban this possibility.


I've also seen around some real mopeds (closer to a bike with an engine), driving at bike speeds, and they were of no harm. But they are less than 1% of all motorized traffic on bike lanes...
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Due to Photobucket f*cking up, most images won't be visibile in my old posts. If you need anything specific, please write me.
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Old October 25th, 2014, 10:55 PM   #11588
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This will further increase congestion on the road though, and I personally doubt, that if the same amount of blue plated scooters, start driving between the cars, that that's beneficial for the safety. I think it'll cause many extra accidents on the road. Bar a few exceptions, you don't see cyclists mobility being negatively affected by scooters. Most of the cycle paths easily have much more capacity. The main advantage in the suburbs is being able to avoid many ''anti traffic'' routes ( having to drive around instead of through somewhere), avoiding intersections ( due to all the tunnels for cyclists), etc...

I personally think a slow device that goes 60 km/h max realistically, does not belong between the cars. That is a much bigger problem for safety than for cyclists.

It'd be a different story if we'd have nice wide roads that are quiet in the city, but the reality is city roads are narrow, congested, and filled with annoyed drivers that sometimes behave erratically. I get cut off daily here where cars share the roads with cyclists and mopeds :
http://goo.gl/maps/hiHEX
I got used to it, but if I'd purely follow the traffic laws ( eg. not brake when I expect that a car hasn't seen me/take my right of way), I'd have collisions every week here.
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Old October 25th, 2014, 10:56 PM   #11589
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I agree, mopeds should be allowed to drive 50 km/h, and use the general roads.

The stupid 25 km/h moped variant is a typical Dutch thing that is called the 'polder model'. Instead of drawing a pragmatic line, they want to please everyone and the result are this kind of stupid regulations that you generally don't see elsewhere. On paper you have 25 km/h mopeds within bicycle traffic, in reality you have Schumachers doing 50 km/h and swerving around annoying obstacles also known as bicyclists.
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Old October 25th, 2014, 11:03 PM   #11590
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Beware what you wish for.

As someone with extensive driving experience in Italy, a country where road-able mini-bikes /mopeds/vespas are very common, I can assure the presence of a large number of 2-wheeled vehicles on city traffic greatly increases the hassles of city driving, especially once their ability to swerve between lines of stagnant 4-wheel vehicles become socially accepted as a norm. It puts cars and even more van/truck drivers on high alert, and it creates a lot of hostility in driving, as 2-wheel drivers plow through congested streets and expect cars to give them room (such as pulling to the sides of a traffic line so they can cut you on a traffic light stop line).

Having blue-plated mopeds, many used by minors with no training on car traffic as drivers, is a receipt for chaotic streets.

What about abolishing the whole "snorfiets" category, creating a rigidly defined category for e-bicycles, and treating all the rest as motorbikes?

At the very least, they should do away with speed limiters to classify vehicles as snorfiets. The power unit should be physically constructed in a way that can't deliver more than a set amount of kW/weight
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Old October 25th, 2014, 11:04 PM   #11591
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
in reality you have Schumachers doing 50 km/h and swerving around annoying obstacles also known as bicyclists.
.

During rush hour, everyone is annoying obstacle . Be it cars, cyclists, etc.

I live in a municipality where luckily pretty much all cycle paths are ''bromfietspaden'', which means a yellow plated 45km/h scooter can also legally go on them. Rotterdam on the other hand, is a chaos if you happen to drive a yellow plated scooter. You keep swerving between cycle paths and roads if follow the rules.
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Old October 25th, 2014, 11:09 PM   #11592
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"Polderen" was the first thing they told us in the Dutch Culture course

I don't see cyclists mobility being negatively affected by scooters, I see their safety being affected by scooters, a lot.

The idea to allow cyclists to avoid forced detours is valid because, since you have to express personally the effort, you want to keep it as low as possible. Once you have a motor strolling you around, why complaining about a slightly longer route, like it's a personal hindrance? In terms of time travel it's often a matter of seconds...

Anyway, I don't foresee a great loss of capacity on the roads, and believe me, I come from a place where the number of scooters is much higher. They are so fast and flexible you almost don't notice them while driving a car, as long as they behave properly (which means: not swirling around lanes and jump in front of cars).
In the city, with a car, you will NEVER have to wait behind a slow moving moped...
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Old October 25th, 2014, 11:12 PM   #11593
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It would perhaps be a solution to put a weight restriction (30 kg's or thereabouts) on blue plated mopeds and from a certain moment onwards only allow new sales of electricly driven units? It would perhaps give an interesting impulse to innovation as well.
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Old October 25th, 2014, 11:19 PM   #11594
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At the moment, the electric full scooters are probably the worst fast as the others, but you don't hear them coming...

If you mean bikes with an assisting electric motor, it may be an idea. But such a limit, in real life, means a de fact ban of every self-propelled model, so you can just go straight and make it a clear and definitive separation.

In general, I would allow only the kind of e-bikes where the engine is not working alone but only when the cyclist is pushing the pedals.
I often use that kind of bike at home, it's already enough for "lazy cycling".
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I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrooke, and by gum, it put them on the map!
Well, sir, there's nothing on earth like a genuine, bona fide, electrified, six-car monorail!

Marchionne means never having to say you're sorry.

Due to Photobucket f*cking up, most images won't be visibile in my old posts. If you need anything specific, please write me.
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Old October 25th, 2014, 11:32 PM   #11595
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So the car modal share is 50% by trips and 73% by distance. How does that compare to other developed countries?

Regarding housing, it seems such a shame that NL has copied the British obsession with houses and house prices. When I first got interested in the Netherlands, around the late 90s, I worked for a company that also had an office in Zoetermeer. I used to have lots of conversations with a British person (who unusually spoke fluent Dutch) who worked in our Zoetermeer office when he visited our office in England. I remember commenting that I thought that the Dutch were quite happy renting, like the Germans. He then remarked that the Dutch were starting to get into house buying. Obviously the rest is history and house prices in NL are now extortionate, whereas it is still cheap in Germany where renting still dominates.

Having said that, house prices do seem be still, in general, a fair bit cheaper than the UK despite higher wages. I'm planning to move to NL in the next few years (essentially to retire) and the north east seems to be still reasonably affordable. That part of the country seems basically as close to utopia (low crime, good standard of living, good cycling) as you can get, but the house prices there are comparable to the high crime areas of northern England, which most people would try to avoid.

I've started to do a 50 km commute in southern England with my Batavus electric bike! I do this once or twice a week and it takes about 2.5 hours each way. I do have a spare battery.
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Old October 25th, 2014, 11:41 PM   #11596
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Northeastern Netherlands is somewhat of a 'Soviet Netherlands'. It is the only area where communist parties consistently get a sizable number of votes. It has chronic unemployment and is considered quite undesirable for people who are looking for a decent job, which is a reason why the housing prices are so depressed in eastern Groningen. However, if you are financially independent, it is a nice, quiet and spacious rural area. Personally I would prefer Drenthe or Friesland, I don't like the mentality of rural Groningen (having spend a number of years there).
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Old October 26th, 2014, 12:04 AM   #11597
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According to:

http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/..._e2gdp&lang=en

the GDP per capita of each NUTS 2 region in the Netherlands (2011) was as follows:

50400 Groningen
29100 Friesland (NL)
27500 Drenthe
31400 Overijssel
30100 Gelderland
26100 Flevoland
42300 Utrecht
40500 Noord-Holland
35400 Zuid-Holland
34300 Zeeland
36400 Noord-Brabant
32100 Limburg (NL)

so it looks like Groningen had the highest GDP per capita of the Dutch NUTS 2 regions. Does this make sense?
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Old October 26th, 2014, 12:07 AM   #11598
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so it looks like Groningen had the highest GDP per capita of the Dutch NUTS 2 regions. Does this make sense?
Well it makes some sense since revenues from natural gas in Groningen are probably counted along, but all that money doesn't go to the people but to the government, so it gives a wrong picture.
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Old October 26th, 2014, 12:10 AM   #11599
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Well it makes some sense since revenues from natural gas in Groningen are probably counted along, but all that money doesn't go to the people but to the government, so it gives a wrong picture.
Doesn't the gas industry bring good employment? Aberdeen is one of the richest parts of the UK (and has high house prices http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24348196) because of the oil industry.
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Old October 26th, 2014, 12:12 AM   #11600
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Yes, that figure is highly affected by the natural gas extraction. In reality it is the least wealthy area of the Netherlands, except for Groningen City. It's not that incomes are necessarily lower, but fewer people have high-paying jobs. It's mostly a 'blue-collar' region.
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