Bikes rule in Utrecht

While is it admirable that so many Dutch people cycle instead of drive, it can be difficult for pedestrians to know where they can safely walk.

In Utrecht there were bikes everywhere.  The bike park at the central station tells the story.

BIkes at station

Two-tiered bike park at central station

People tend to transport all sorts of things on their bikes, including carts containing their children.  It is interesting that no one seems to wear a helmet.


At junctions, bikers get preference, and pedestrians can wait for up to three minutes for a green light (I timed it).

Right hand lane

When this is lit up, cyclists can turn right on a red light

While there are bike lanes (coloured red), they can take up most of the sidewalk leaving no space for walkers, especially where the cafés are also occupying the pavement.

No sidewalk

No space for walkers

In some places, such as next to Janskerk, the space is very tight.


Walkers are squeezed at Janskerk

In the city centre the bike lanes were not marked on the ground and it was quite perilous walking from the bus stop at Janskerkhof to the Domplein, where I was normally heading, with bikes cutting across.


Unclear where walkers can go safely

I felt that a little more information, and a little more respect for pedestrians would be helpful.  Certainly walking in the city centre is not an entirely peaceful experience because you have to watch out.  Perhaps the Dutch understand it all, but for a visitor it was unclear.

Ironically, I was at an international conference about commons, ie shared space, but it did not seem that the street space in Utrecht was being shared very fairly.

About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
This entry was posted in Access, International Association for the Study of the Commons, Netherlands, walking and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Bikes rule in Utrecht

  1. Hugh says:

    “walking in the city centre is not an entirely peaceful experience because you have to watch out.” But you didn’t have to watch out for cars, vans or trucks? Why would anyone wear a helmet if unlikely to be in a collision with a vehicle?

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