Dutch falling over themselves to complain about untreated bike paths + video

Low salt stocks means roads get priority, even in the low countries...

by Dave Atkinson   December 23, 2010  

Dutch cyclists slipping on icy corner

These cold winters always make us Brits feel like Europe's wayward cousin, a badly organised shambles of slushy tailbacks and queues at airports whilst over the channel it's business as usual. It may feel like that, but it's not always the case. Our Dutch friends may get a much better bike infrastructure than we're ever likely to see, but come the big freeze everyone's being careful dishing out the salt, and even over in the enlightened low countries it seems to be bikes that lose out.

DutchNews.nl is reporting that with salt stocks on the verge of running out, there have been dozens of complaints from cyclists who have fallen foul of the icy conditions. In Amsterdam, they report, few cycle lanes have been gritted at all and with more snow on the way and temperatures set to plunge to the minus teens for the Christmas weekend it's getting rather sketchy out there.

How sketchy? Well, take a gander at this video from Lelystad, 40km or so East of Amsterdam. Luckily with a dedicated path there's no motor vehicles to end up under, but even so there's some pretty nasty falls. To be fair there's some pretty funny ones too, and some impressive recoveries; predictably the YouTube comments are split between schadenfreude and disbelief that someone could film for this long without getting the salt pot out of their kitchen and doing something about it...

7 user comments

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The final irony is that they are not even allowed to use the (presumably gritted) roads as an alternative...

G-bitch's picture

posted by G-bitch [311 posts]
23rd December 2010 - 10:41

3 Likes

the double at 1.17 is sweet,

posted by bjfo [5 posts]
23rd December 2010 - 10:57

3 Likes

G-bitch wrote:
The final irony is that they are not even allowed to use the (presumably gritted) roads as an alternative...

No, I think it is Belgium where you have to use the cycle path when one is provided. I don't believe it is illegal to use the road in the Netherlands.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1370 posts]
23rd December 2010 - 11:24

3 Likes

It is illegal to use the roads in the Netherlands, where there is a cycle path alongside it.

The Dutch often maintain their cycle paths better than their roads. However last year I did use a Dutch road, rather than a cycle path due to ice, then fell, due to ice, three times on an unsegregated street! Those with winter types fared much better - but not everyone wants to take the initiative - and so leave their safety to others.

Snow and ice are natural occurrences. Gritting is unsustainable and very energy intensive - so is it wise to demand more?

posted by IanPerry [7 posts]
23rd December 2010 - 15:54

2 Likes

Surely what we're talking about here is just as much about how the priority given to existing grit supplies. As for the tyres most studded tyres work well in snow but not so well in the sort of sheet ice shown in the video. Be interesting to know which would have bigger environmental impact - gritting the cyclepaths, or having a large proportion of those Dutch cyclists using their cars instead?

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4154 posts]
23rd December 2010 - 16:21

2 Likes

there are alternatives to gritting:

http://www.ecotraction.com/

doesn't melt the snow/ice, just makes it grippy. so you don't need to reapply it as often and it's environmentally neutral

Barry Fry-up's picture

posted by Barry Fry-up [186 posts]
23rd December 2010 - 16:35

3 Likes

And not one wearing a helmet... should we be shocked?

Ticktock

posted by Michael5 [121 posts]
15th January 2011 - 10:50

4 Likes