Why are so many engineers and planners eager to brand their intersections as "Dutch Style" and why is the Netherlands so good at Infrastructure

This excellent channel describes the key factors why Netherlands went from Carmageddon to one of the most bikeable and driveable countries in the world

how much has dunedin learned from the world leaders in cycling infrastructure? And where did Dunedin go wrong with its cycle ways. As a cycling advocacy group how do we get to a place where DCC engineers are eager to label their intersections as “Dutch Style”?


Wouldn’t it be a very helpful thing to start collecting a database about how many people cycle into town or commute to work and use cycling infrastructure in Dunedin. And find out how that changes over time. Do you think Spokes volunteers would be able to do a count once a year or so and would there be some one who would be able do get that into a sort of scientific frame to get some relevant data to have beter arguments when it comes to discussing around city planning.

I believe the DCC might already do cycling counts already. They’re not for public about it though.

We already know how to design bike lanes (thats not the issue). And counts are great, but you wouldnt build a bridge on the fact how many people would swim across, right? More bike lanes (safe and seperate) means more demand.

The big issue here is that we have a lot of politicians that don’t see the benefit of bike lanes (they just want to have lots of car lanes and lots of car parking). Its important for us to have regular conversations with the council from a biker point of view.
And show the benefits eg. reduction of emission, health benefits, building a great, innovative city that attracts international people.

Unfortunately now we often end up with compromises which lead to bike lanes that don’t work eg. just a strip of paint.

That being said the ODT article about Albany Street had a lot of bad things in there, but something that was amazing that we have now reached 4% bicycle mode share (according to council), which apparently is even with Christchurch.

If we would have solid numbers we could show, that bike lanes creat car parking because the more people use the bike to go into the city the less car parks are required. Of course WE know that but we still have to argue the obvious.

@jessica, thank you for your thoughtful response but couldn’t disagree more with your assertion that “we already know how to build bike lanes”. This is 100% the issue with this city. You and I may know how design them but no one told the DCC/Waka Ko Tahi how to build functional city road, cycle lanes and transit infrascture, within a coordinated framework. The Dunedin City bike lane infrastructure is probably the worst I have ever experienced after living in several canadian cities. Dunedins network is patchy, disconnected, unsafe swaps back and forth, has dysunfcitonal lifght timings, doesn’t go where you need, has no bike parking, no driver education, no cyclist education, I could list dozens of things wrong with Dunedin City bike infrastrcture and lanes. Dunedin bike lanes are sooo disfunctional I am scared to use them and have already been hit once in my few months back in this otherwise pretty great city.
Bike lanes are something that needs to be done right the first time. I’ve never seen such backlash against bike lanes in any other city I’ve lived in. The reason Dunedin drivers hate bike lanes so much is dunedins implemenrtation is bad for drivers. And bad for cyclists. Problem is if you build something badly then everyone hates it. If you build somerthing really good then everyone loves including drivers becuase their travel time is also reduced becuase so many other drivers get on their bikes instead reducing overall number of cars on the road.
There is no point “talking up” bike lanes and benefits of them, health, travel time bla bla bla if you just implement unsafe crap that ticks everyone off. Dunedin has probably been set back 15 years by its crappy bike infrastructure implementation. It will take 15 years to undo the current scourge of poorly designed bike lanes, and engender enuff public support to build a proper bicycle network around the city.
I question how much you have actually used Dunedins cycle lanes if you think they are functional. I’ve done thousands of kilometers in decent overseas urban bike lanes. And about 200km in dunedin and already been hit once. And Im a lycra weating white male. Dunedin needs to rip out all the bike lanes they have and start again from scratch after bringing in experts who know how to do this properly and actually trust them and listen to them and follow their guidance. This is how other citiies have done it. Go to Europe, hire some Dutch that do this in their sleep and bring them in. If you think Dunedin knows how to build bike lanes, then you need to leave New Zealand a bit more often and experience some other cities that have done this well and you’ll come back and shake your head at Dunedin. You’re one of the Emporers New Clothes disciples by saying Duendin “knows how to design bike lanes”

I’m not convinced about your characterisation of Dunedin’s cycling infrastructure. Dunedin’s infrastructure is a compromise based on the political reality of Dunedin rather than a lack of education or experience by the planners and designers.

Prior to the protected lanes on the one-way system being built, we had four deaths in a short space of time, and zero deaths since - so it has clearly succeeded in its primary purpose.

The lesson which I think is critical and which I think your comments aren’t reflecting upon, is that unless you take the majority of voters along with your designs for this kind of best of class infrastructure, it will not be built at all.

There’s a mixed bag of good and bad when it comes to bike lanes in Dunedin.

I actively avoid using the bike lanes in the one way system as they’re slow and inconvenient. They’re far too narrow in many parts, with many sections not having enough space for faster riders to safely pass slower users.

I’ve also got my misgivings about the provision for cyclists to ride north up George Street. Despite the fact that riders are supposed to be able to ride north against the traffic in the “Shared Zone”, there are points where it seems cyclists are expected to magically disappear, or are we supposed to ride on the inside of the car parks and along that section already cluttered up with sandwich boards?

I do think the DCC has done a pretty good job with the bike path along Thomas Burns and Wharf Streets however. And the harbourside pathways are great.

I think the bike lanes in Dunedin have been built with the wrong mindset. They have not been made for cyclists but only to get cyclists out of the traffic and so out of the way. Those traffic designers didn’t consider cyclists to be part of traffic but only an obstacle to be removed. I think in many places they have to be completely redesigned with a different goal setting

The problem that a lot of bike lanes being build is because a lot of comprises need to be made. So the original design might be a great design. But it will always go through different stages before it gets presented to the public. Someone might say it needs to allow parking, or needs to have loading zones in the bike lanes.

Because these compromises we end up with the bike lane we currently have the one way system. I personally use this quite a lot and it makes me cycle more around as I feel unsafe without any barrier (i would never cycle here on the road. Way too dangerous!). Can it be better? Yes, but unfortunately we have a divided councils and compromises need to be made. It would be ideal to get a 5 star bike lane, but sometimes all we get is 3 star bike lane. We slowly need to grow that bike lane network and with council seeying more and more of the benefit, i believe the quality of bike lanes will be better.

I am of the opinion to use pop-up bike lanes - where you can change the design as you go. Thease are great (and has let to paris growing their network, where bikes now outnumber cars). Pop-up bike lanes can later be turned into a permanent bike lane. Its important to also listen to the people in power that might be unsure about bike lanes as they are the ones making decisions. But its very tricky indeed.

And in terms of cycle counts and retail there is some really good research out of the UK that bike parking brings 5x times more profit than car parking. Which might help convince the council aswell. Here is some great data (incl nz data); Every Study Ever Conducted on the Impact Converting Street Parking Into Bike Lanes Has on Businesses - Bloomberg

Paris; bikes outnumber cars; A longtime city of cars, Paris is seeing a new kind of road rage: Bike-lane traffic jams | PBS NewsHour

Paris starting with pop-up bike lanes (in 2020);

Totally agree Jon! Perfect means it doesnt get build at all :+1:

I’ll throw in my 2 cents: I agree with Jon that insisting on the best would mean we get nothing… but I also agree a lot with Bob. Two schemes that I’ve discussed (on behalf of Spokes) with the DCC:

  1. Albany street. Cycleway planned when it was a 50 zone, and there appeared to be no way to convince them that now it is a 30 zone, maybe use bollards, raised crossings etc to stop it being a rat-run and make it a quiet street would be better all round.

  2. The plans for the painted cycle lane on the northern part of George St was simply crazy, with the “lane” being routed onto pavements around pedestrian crossings and vanishing at some of the intersections, all because they didn’t understand that at certain points cars might have to share the road. The fact that some firm in ChCh got paid money to make it is criminal!

I do think that NZ would benefit from getting expertise in from outside.

Tena koutou,

these are all really interesting comments to read and I agree that while our cycle lanes are not perfect they provide safer spaces for those who commute - if you are in a car you have to stop at traffic lights as well so stopping along the one-ways is ok - we always argue for a slower pace in life and I think that goes for cyclists as well.

I have recently submitted to the DCC’s safer speed management plans and have since some time really changed my view on this - living in a big country with a small population and a government that does not dare increase taxes and local councils rates to actually fund really well thought through connected cycle infrastructure…

I think that we need to promote the reduction of speed and the consequential increased safety for traffic participants on active modes - I want to be able to cycle on a road, sharing the space with well educated, slow drivers that respect cyclists (the growing number of cyclists on electric bikes as well) that in a reduced speed scenario can move in a similar speed to cars. Thus cycling becomes even more attractive as you will be safer and also speedy - if commuting faster than a car is your highlight of the day.

Really looking forward to seeing you all at the bike breakfast where we can collect more input, ideas and opinions that Fraser can take to the DCC for us.

Meri kirihimete

1 Like

Heike I likey.

Peter McDonald
Stop for the Bus

Share the Way @ 30K

Kia ora Heike,

Yes, 30kmh zones are great (and one of the many things we can do to make our streets safer - we also need to reduce car parking and car lanes).

Back home, in the Netherlands its pretty safe to ride a bike on a 30kmh road.

However, here this won’t work on all roads unfortunately. Basically because the road design still is the same and hasnt been build for a 30kmh (the new george st is a great example of a road design that does work for a 30kmh ans is very safe for bikes), but a wide road without any changes like speed tables, speed camera’s and/or narrower roads means people are still going to go 50-70kmh. Im hoping council is looking at key roads where the limit is 30kmh and also changing the road design eg. using planter boxes, install speed tables and have speed camera’s.

Image of my hometown. I used to walk / cycle to school and would cross here. A 30kmh zone; as you can see narrow + speedtable makes it very safe.

1 Like

I hoped so too, but my dealings with the council and the stance of the councillors (and, it must be said, the public who vote them in) suggest that NZ is a long long way from understanding what can/should/must be done.

When I arrived here 5 years ago I hoped that, by the time my children went to high school, it would be safe for them to ride there on a bike. My eldest starts high school next term… and literally nothing has changed that would make his ride to school safe. Unfortunately unless there is some step change, it to take another decade before kids can cycle safely to school :frowning:

The city of victoria BC where I spent November 2023, has 30 digital cyclist counters sprinkled around the city that display daily counts as well as a “thermometer” showing annual cumulative bike traffic at that spot. These act as a visual indicator to drivers that “oh yeah, people actually use these bloody bike lanes eh?” And to cyclists, its a cheerleader, displaying how many people actually have your back today. Some busy spots have in the low thousands of cyclists per day. Sure its not the volumes of coppenhagen or rotterdam, but a similar city to dunedin in many ways (but smaller hills). Realtime counters are also accessible online via a map displaying counter info. https://data.eco-counter.com/ParcPublic/?id=4828. The first of these counters cost $21,000 in 2014 and was funded by the federal gas tax fund.