Groningen, Candidate Cycling City 2016

Groningen, Candidate Cycling City 2016

Welcome to Groningen, the largest city in the north
of the Netherlands with its 200,000 inhabitants, over 30,000 of whom are students. The people of Groningen cycle a lot and the city is again a finalist to
become Cycling City of the Netherlands. Groningen was the first city to have a really
large bicycle parking facility at its main station. A huge concrete deck under which
there was room to park over 4,000 bicycles when it was opened in 2007. This has been expanded, until a new structure
had to be built for even more bicycles. Like any city in the Netherlands,
Groningen has good infrastructure. We can find one-way cycle tracks
on either side of roads and there are also
two-way cycle tracks. For the really good stuff
you have to go further out. In 1977 the city divided the city centre in four compartments. To get from one to the other
motor traffic had to use a ring road. A revolution at the time. The city got rid of most of the
motor traffic in the center that way. But that ring road did not get
any cycling infrastructure and that was apparently never changed
in those forty years, leading to potential conflicts
between motor traffic and cycling. The streets in the center have
low motor traffic volumes, but they did not become
entirely car-free. These streets still look like
car territory to me. If cyclists would at least have priority, but there don’t seem to be
any cycle streets yet in this city. Roundabouts are also scarce. The only one I encountered was not built
to current design specifications. Groningen has almost no
protected intersections. Instead it has an
all directions green system. This is not commonly used
in the rest of the country. It leads to a lot of conflicts between people
cycling in the different directions It also leads to extra green cycles
which prolongs the total signal cycle . That is perhaps also why the green time
is kept so short. Which in turn leads to the signals
almost always being red when you
approach an intersection. In the 1977 Traffic Circulation Plan
the buses were exempt. They still go right
through the city centre. I don’t know any other Dutch city
where large buses use such narrow streets in such high numbers. It leads to an incredible number
of bus / bike conflicts that really made me
cringe sometimes. Apparently the people in Groningen
are used to it. They ride in high numbers
using all kinds of vehicles, day and night , to all kinds of destinations. Bicycles parked in front
of the cinemas, bars,
restaurants and theaters
are telling. The main route to one of the
University areas is marked. The route didn’t quite feel
like a main cycle route though, more like a quiet route
through back streets. Once further out it turned into a real cycle
route, but there it was too narrow. The route is not coherent, switching from
space shared with cars to separated cycle tracks
and vice versa. The state of maintenance
was not very good either. A main crossing was very clearly
not designed for the current volumes. A lot of scary conflicts
at this location. So don’t I have anything good to say
about Groningen? I do. The new train station Europapark is great. A wide separate path leading to
an open underpass. The square hides a beautiful
bicycle parking facility. The stairs have grooves to be able
to walk down with your bike. But … I saw a lot of people doing
that in just a few minutes That can only mean that
a vital connection is missing. Groningen has a lot of cycling and it was ahead
of its time years ago. But you need to keep investing in cycling and although Groningen does that at points, it also seems to have missed
a number of new developments. That is why I can only conclude
that Groningen should not become Cycling City of the Netherlands in 2016.

31 Comments on “Groningen, Candidate Cycling City 2016”

  1. first of al this is a GREAT video about my city +10

    and you are right on every point you said.

    groningen has good cyclepaths to make cycling faster. but not all cyclepaths are potthole free but they are working on it because I am telling the council where all the potholes are and most of the time they will be fixed in less than a month.
    but we have to tell them. and the reason why a lot of juinctions are to small for the numbers of cyclist is because groningen is a one way city so or streets are not that wide. what you also saw with the busses. but the bus drivers are the best drivers I have seen. and car drivers are so nice to cyclist that we did not need cyclestreets and the street that is going to be changed to a cycle street does not needed to be a cyclestreet and thats where you found that roundabout. and thats also the roundabout where most accidents happen. and the ring way around the city where no cycle paths are four 40 years. there does not cycle a lot of people because we can cycle trough the city centrum. and thats faster 🙂

    but the biggest problem of groningen is the traffic lights! everybody gets green and on the ground are sharkteeths but nobody has priority so that means the right of the strongest count. so if I get green I pull up with 5kmh a second and if people see me they will stop but if somebody does not look I will stop otherwise we crash. but if we crash and not a lot of people know that if I got damage to my bike the council will pay for it because nobody is wrong because we both did not have priority. so if people want there bike fixed for free its very easy. wait on green and hit a other cyclist as fast as you can. stupid hé?

    and also we have a lot off cyclist that are playing with there mobile phone. dont pay attention and cyclist dont stop for pedestrian crossings. but thats I think because police only gives drivers a ticket.

    and for people that want to know what all happens in groningen on my channel you will find a lot off cycling video's 🙂

  2. To a cyclist in England like me this looks like cycling heaven. Looking at these videos it seriously makes me consider emigrating to the Netherlands!

  3. Your videos are so educational and entertaining! I live in New York and I wish we had the bike friendly streets they have in the Netherlands. It's a fascinating system that the Dutch have created for bike commuters and I hope my country adopts these biking practices in the future because as of right now I risk my life everyday to commute and it shouldn't be that way

  4. This is great! There has recently been a big article in swedish online paper about "seven things to learn about the worlds best cycling city Groningen", clearly from a swedish perspective after watching this, what an eye-opener this is.

  5. I agree with you that Groningen has to make some steps before they can be cycling city. I'm from Groningen and I disagree on some of the statements you make. I think the city center doesn't need any "fietsstraten" because cyclist "own" the center. I think its a misconception that great cycling infrastructure is everything. If there are a large quantity of cyclists you will automatically create a cycling street, a sign doesn't make a difference.

    Groningen is currently making a plan to get rid of all the busses in the city center and there planning to renew the cycle routes to the university so Groningen will be a great contender in 2017/2018

    I didn't really understand your take on the green light in all directions. I think it's a great concept because you can make a left turn diagonal and don't have to wait twice to make a left turn. The conflicts that occur may be strange if you're not used to it but I've never experienced any problems, cyclist can take there responsibility and solve these conflicts with eye-contact.

  6. Great videos! Big + for added subtitles. Your videos are now available to people who can't hear or who don't quite understand English. I will be more then happy to help you, if you need it, to translate your subtitles to other languages e.g. Serbian, Russian, German, Hungarian…

  7. the plan is to move buses from the city center to the "diepenring" and with such a high modal share, Groningen must be doing something right.

  8. living in Groningen for many years and using a bike every day, I can confirm that cycling in Groningen, if you are not from Holland, can be quite an adventure and not without any risk. Wat surprised me was that this video mainly shows ugly shots of this very lively, old city? Why skip the massive flow of students on bike, on their way to the old university in mid-city-centre, with hundreds of bikes daily parked in front of it?

  9. Je bent een prof petje af maar kan je een filmpje maken over fietsbeveiliging in Nederland want fietsendiefstal in Nederland is een groot probleem

  10. As a Dutch person living abroad i sometimes point people to youtube vids but i always cringe listening to the overhead voices.. Please get someone to edit the texts.

  11. A inveja não é de Deus !!!!!mas nossa que inveja a minha !!!!!UM lugar que as bike são prioridade no transporte ,coisa que o meu pais não faz BRAZIL, sem respeito pelo ciclista e sem educação no transito.
    Me deixem morar lá por favor .pelo menos ir uma unica vez !!!!! para conhecer oque é educação digna de um homem!!!

  12. 1.47..mister commetor.. these streets you shown in this clip ar just where the seperation is from car free to car allowed..1.50.. rounadbouts, the markings on the street are known as "sharks teeth" and one byciclist needs to know to be beware of traffic on these signs..2.29… the red light for cyclists have a count down bar in orange as yuo show perfectly, and it makes green go much more often then it goes for the car lanes, add to that, this very crossing has camera's that also monitor weather, and when it is raining, the byciclists get even sooner a green light..3.47 state of maintennance.. you are looking at crossroads of gas pipes, electric and a sewer lid… Yes mister.. you can compplain.. but keep it to where it actually is needed, please!!!!!!!

  13. This South-Scandinavian city looks like a freakin' war zone!!! That's like saying PM May is actually Miss Universe…

  14. Cycle streets in the center is something I find rather strange. I think that cycle streets should be from the suburbs to the center. In order to persuade people to come to the center by bicycle instead of by car.

  15. Thank you for adding your informative video of one of our favourite cities anywhere. It's characterful streets and houses and the quiet swish of bikes just charm me. I've just added a 4k natural sight and sound walk through of the town too, in appreciation. Perhaps we could subscribe to each other and share more of the same?

  16. The all directions green system is bad and I'm glad you agree. Many times the pedestrian light is green while the bicycle light stays red. I just cross whenever the pedestrian or bicycle light is green because it's safe while many bicycles stay put because the bicycle light is red wasting their time.
    This is most apparant on the Zonnelaan that on certain times has hordes of students waiting for red too long

  17. The cyclists are a plague in Groningen. They think traffic rules dont apply to them, cycle on the pavement and expect pedestrians to move out of their way, and to cross the street at brugstraat it takes 10 minutes because of a constant swarm of hundreds of cyclists. There are thousands of bikes parked everywhere on the pavement in the centre. We pedestrians dont matter any more. And why not let busses drive through the centre like in uhh virtually every city in the world… that way the old and disabled cant visit the city centre any more. But who cares about that anyway……

  18. 4:30 Yep, getting from the supermarket (one of the largest of the country) & office buildings up ahead, to the opposite side of the train tracks (which is 100% residential area) requires going down these stairs and then up the stairs the other end. There is a no-stairs bike path, but it involves a massive zigzaggy detour route with a long slope (meaning hard work on a bicycle), on both sides.

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