Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This is OUR road not MY road

 One aspect I've found absolutely fascinating about Amsterdam is their use of shared and separate bicycle lanes. On an excursion to the countryside, we road on a street that in the United States would be considered as a one lane road but here the street supports two-directional traffic, bicycles and parking all at the same time! It was pretty amazing to see how all these worked together. You would think there would be problems with congestion and getting around in general, but everything seamlessly flows here. There’s almost an unsaid expectation of how these roads are to be shared--I say "unsaid" because there is no signage or use of sharrows to explain what is to be done. The only confrontation/frustration I've witnessed so far has been between motorists/cyclists encountering tourists that are unfamiliar with Amsterdam's roadways. 

Separated Bike Lane
Haha, in fact, today I saw a moped crash on the street because of the car in front of it. This is terrible to say but I was secretly happy the moped crashed...they are quite annoying and, 90% of the time, shatter the speed limit (moped use is actually a current problem Amsterdam is trying to resolve but placing these from the bike lane to the street is complicated. Basically, you'd be shifting one problem to another). Anyways, you would think an argument would ensue from such an altercation but these guys laughed the whole matter off. Both passengers and drivers were chuckling and joking to each other about what had occurred--and no, they did not know each other because the car in front of the moped was a garbage truck. 

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