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Gallery: Assen, Netherlands

Photos of cycling in and around Assen. It's a wonderful place to live and a wonderful place to cycle. It's also being made nicer all the time by excellent quality new provision. Assen spends 1.8 million Euros on new cycle provision each year, which breaks down to nearly 30 Euros per person per year. This is just the capital budget for new infrastructure. The maintenance budget is in addition to this, school cycle training is in addition to this, etc.

The city also receives a lot of benefit from the equivalent of S106 money.

65000 people live here and each person makes an average of nearly 1.2 journeys per day by bike.

Some shots here of the new housing estate Kloosterveen, are of note as this is a new development of some 8000 homes which is similar in scope to some of the "eco-towns" in the UK. This, however, is MUCH more cycle friendly and the new development has a wonderful direct route to the very centre of the city, which has no traffic lights on it at all (this makes it rather more efficient than using the driving route which has a minimum of three sets to get to the city centre).

People use practical bicycles for practical purposes here. As a result, cycle parking does not use sheffield stands, but more useful stands which hold the bike upright while you load your shopping on board. The few sheffield stands in the city are generally left unused as better alternative are available. Or people will use the stands on their bikes.

For more information on Assen, including some short videos, see this website:

Also see the photo gallery here:

And the English language articles on Dutch cycling policy and provision here:

And there's a blog here, explaining different aspects of how cycling works in the Netherlands:

This gallery was created on Thursday, 20th September 2007

"Tegelijk groen" indicates that cyclists have their own green phase at these traffic lights and that they're allowed to travel in any direction on a green - including diagonal, which is demonstrated in the video. Its is less obvious that ... [more]

I have now solved the mystery of why this path is narrower than the usual 4 metres and why it had its width written on it. The path was resurfaced a few days after this photo was taken. The width was written on to make sure the contractor d ... [more]

Family cycling. No-one wears a helmet, the straps on the child seat of the child on the front adult bike aren't even done up. This is what happens when conditions for cycling feel, and actually are, safe. Lots of room for riding side by ... [more]

Study Tour group on 4 metre wide cycle path. Groningerstraat in Assen.

Campaigners measuring unidirectional cycle path in Assen, Netherlands.

Study Tour participants waiting for others who are measuring a road. Four metre wide cycle path.

Nice wide path alongside the canal. There's enough space here for four bikes abreast, so if you're riding with a friend and someone else is riding with a friend in the opposite direction it doesn't cause a problem. Pedestrians and dog walke ... [more]

A view from a bridge of the canal path shown in #11713. This lovely bike path is very well used by cyclists, roller skaters etc. Upgraded in 2011. See #33320 It is the standard width of four metres wide. For a video of this path ... [more]

Wonderful canal path. Other views are at #11713 and #11784, but this one provides video. The path has the standard width of four metres. Upgraded in 2011. See #33320

It's the 20th of December, just after 8 am. It's been below freezing for several days now, but here are a mother and child on the way to school on a cycle path by the canal in Assen. See also #12341

It's the 20th of December, just after 8 am. It's been below freezing for several days. Cycle commuters on a canal path in Assen. Also see #12339

Canal path in Assen. Watch the video to see an example of the sort of bike path which runs through housing estates from this path. In this example, it's a 1970s estate.

A cycle path which provides an alternative for a short distance to that shown in #11713 and goes into a residential area. Because this is merely a link path, it is narrower than usual at just 3.5 m.

Older, but good quality bike path on the side of a relatively minor road right at the edge of Assen in the Netherlands. Four metres wide.

Proper use of armco barriers to keep cyclists on the bike path safe. A view of this path with a cyclist for scale is shown in #11783. The path is four metres wide.

Another view of the bridge shown in #11525 and #11526, but with a cyclist for scale showing how wide the cycle path is: four metres.

Here a well surfaced road for use only by tractors and bikes turns into an excellent cycle path through a new (and incomplete) housing estate - Kloosterveen. The path is four metres wide. There is now a much longer video showing this rou ... [more]

Here a cycle path cross roads crosses a road. Note that the cycle path is four metres wide, smoothly surfaced and takes a direct route. The road is three metres wide, bumpy and takes an indirect route. The first crossing with a bumpy gre ... [more]

Cycle path in new housing estate. Full segregation where there is a 30 km/h speed limit on the road. Note that the cycle path is smoother, wider and more direct than the road and at crossings, drivers have to give way to cyclists. The cy ... [more]

Excellent new cycle paths in a new housing estate providing for families to ride bikes with children in complete safety. The main cycle path is four metres wide. It is crossed by a 3 metre wide path with a 2 metre pavement alongside.

On one of the routes to a school in Assen there are several road signs drawn by children. This is my favourite: "Fiets Liever" or "Prefer Bikes". I assume the idea of this is to remind drivers that children will be on their bikes around ... [more]

This very narrow road gives way to two different cycle paths within 50 metres of one another.

A brand new Dutch housing estate, showing cycle paths which go everywhere. It's also very pleasantly landscaped, doesn't look crowded and doesn't prioritise cars above all else. The path is four metres wide.

An example of excellent segregation of bikes and cars on a brand new housing estate. Bikes are this side of the water, cars are the other side of the water. This cycle path is 3 metres wide. In this case, both cars and bikes are allow ... [more]

Dutch primary schools don't have gates. They do have very good cycle paths, though. This path is the standard width: four metres. The pavement is two metres wide. This is actually a temporary school in a new housing estate. You can se ... [more]

Dad's just dropped his child off at school using a "Vaderfiets" - Father Bike. This is factory fitted with an extra saddle on the top tube to carry children. Note the rare use of low quality "Sheffield Rack" style parking in the backgrou ... [more]

Brand new housing estate at Kloosterveen near Assen. This shows the excellent cycle path alongside homes. Cars are permitted to park between trees. There is a special mesh which protects the greenery. Also, even though these are smaller ter ... [more]

New school in Kloosterveen outside Assen. Note the high quality of construction, including novel features such as a green roof. Also note how the cycle path leads directly to the cycle parking. The previous photo includes part of the run ... [more]

Cycle parking at a primary school. Run the video to see how much and where this is. Note that primary schools tend only to have a couple of hundred children who will almost certainly come from under a kilometre away. There are no wall ... [more]

At this point, minor access roads are linked by short sections of cycle path producing a direct route for bikes but not for cars. While it may look like the junction loses priority for bikes, it does not. The Dutch traffic laws expect both ... [more]

This road turns into a cycle path, goes over a bridge which crosses a cycle underpass and then crosses a road. This allows cyclists to take a much more direct route than drives travelling in the same direction. Play the video to see h ... [more]

Cycle and pedestrian underpass. It's wide, smooth and avoids a set of traffic lights. The cycle path is four metres wide, the pavement is 2.5 m. When I took this photo, I thought this path seemed perfectly smooth. There were a few imp ... [more]

Emerging from a cycle underpass. Almost central in the image on the right of the path is parking for the bus stop (but no sign as it's being redone at present). When I took this photo, I thought this path seemed perfectly smooth. There w ... [more]

I've used this cycle path virtually every day since we moved here. Smooth surfaces are very important for cyclists. However, while this surface was a little rough, as you can see from the bit still remaining red tarmac, it was smoother t ... [more]

Cycle path junction with road and merging into segregated cycle lane. This style of "hybrid" cycle lane is old fashioned and therefore narrower than current practice. It is 2.3 metres wide.

Segregated ( "hybrid") cycle lane. It's an old facility and at 2.3 m wide it is narrow. However, this is still enough to be able to pass slower cyclists within the lane. It's not that unusual to see three bikes side by side when kids are ... [more]

Segregated cycle lane turning into a proper cycle path. This type of provision widely spaced from the road is replacing the old fashioned hybrid style lane. The video shows the same place on the 21st of December when the temperature w ... [more]

A cycle path crossing a road. The cars give way to cycles in both directions. This is short of Maria in Campislaan, which is parallel to the bike path on the left in this photo, by a car width so that one car at a time trying to pull out of ... [more]

Nicely segregated path leading to the city centre.

Cycle path crossing a road. Cars give way to bikes in both directions.

Cycle path seamlessly turning into a Cycle Lane. Car parking is on the road side of the path and there is separation so that incidents with car doors should be unlikely.

Cycle lane separating from road at the junction. The cycle traffic light is several metres beyond the traffic light for cars, and the green for bikes comes a couple of seconds before the green for motor vehicles. This gives cyclists a head- ... [more]

This cycle path is separated by grade from the road. It is around 2.5 m wide + a different colour section which keeps it apart laterally. At the junction it becomes more widely spaced from the road.

At this point the single direction cycle path becomes bidirectional for a short section to allow more efficient use of the crossings. It's all wide, smooth etc. At this point, cars are restricted by central bollards in the road and such ... [more]

Segregated cycle path. Single direction, 2.5 m wide path with 0.5 m wide guard strip and a 2 m wide pavement. Note the pinch point which keeps drivers behaviour reasonable does not adversely affect cyclists on the path and gives a useful ... [more]

Retro-installation of segregated cycle path. This is a single direction cycle path, so can be just 2.5 m wide, with a 0.5 m guard strip in a different colour. Pedestrians have their own path the other side of the trees on the left.

Martin and James on closest modern equivalent to a "hybrid" cycle lane. This is a segregated path with minimal separation from the road. It has separation by grade for most of its distance, becomes separated horizontally at the major junct ... [more]

Martin and James on closest modern equivalent to a "hybrid" cycle lane. This is a segregated path with minimal separation from the road. It has separation by grade for most of its distance, becomes separated horizontally at the major junct ... [more]

Access roads used for very local traffic and parking are sometimes shared with cycles. This example shows how a cycle path changes into an access road. The one way restriction applies only to motorists. Cyclists can use the road in both dir ... [more]

Cycle path crossing the entrance to a 30 kph minor road in a residential area in Assen. The road gives way to the cycle path. Note that the cycle path is raised above the road, and where the road crosses the cycle path it rises to the sa ... [more]

Full segregated bike path in area with 30 km/h speed limit. This gives benefits because traffic calming can be applied to the road while cyclists continue unimpeded. At crossings, drivers give way to cyclists. Also, cyclists can ta ... [more]

Fully segregated bike path in 30 km/h area. The road gives way to the bike path at this junction, where the path and road cross

Fully segregated bike path in 30 km/h residential area.

Fully segregated bike path in 30 km/h residential area. The path takes a more direct route than the road, and drivers in cars have to give way when the path and road cross.

Junction between bike paths, all some distance from roads. Note also that the grey concrete is a separate pavement. Shared use paths are not used in the Netherlands (though sometimes pedestrians do walk on bike paths). However, first go ... [more]

Peelo is an estate built in the 1970s in Assen. It's crossed by many by excellent cycle paths which take a direct route and to which motor traffic gives way. This video nearly reaches the same spot in the oppostie direction as the video ... [more]

High capacity bike path and road crossing. The priority here may not be obvious to English viewers. The Dutch expect to give way to traffic from the right at junctions like this, so priority for bikes and cars is equal.

Four metre wide, smooth bidirectional bike path next to large road.

Four metre wide and smooth bidirectional bike path beside a very large road. Note that all cycle crossings of this road are single stage crossings.

Single stage crossing of very wide road, both the road and bike path have been upgraded since the google maps imagery was created.

Hands up those who have had the experience of being overtaken by a bus which then pulled in at a bus-stop. Well designed segregated cycle paths prevent bus-stops from causing conflict between cyclists and buses. They also prevent cyclist ... [more]

Rising bollard in Assen. Absolutely no conflict with cyclists due to this bollard as cyclists are on a separate cycle path. This is not a through route for car drivers (they are allowed here for access only), but only for buses and bikes ... [more]

Large road junction in Assen, Netherlands. This shows clearly the width of the cycle paths (4 m - wider than road lanes), that they are well spaced from the roads and the way that crossings are direct and do not stop in the middle even when ... [more]

Wide cycle path next to the road that the car came from. This path has priority over all the side-roads, so the car driver waited for us, as he should. It's -5 C in Assen today, hence the warm clothing ! Note that the cycle path has been ... [more]

Approaching a cycle path at -5 C on the 22nd of December. Note how the path and the minor road leading to it are clear of ice.

Junction on four metre wide cycle paths in Assen just around the corner from the rubbish bin shown in #12353 As ever, they're wide, smooth, well sign-posted, kept clear of ice and leaves, actually go somewhere useful etc. etc.

30 km/h access roads for housing often run parallel with the road. Even when they're one way, they allow cycling in both directions. They also join up with cycl epaths to allow direct access by bike to places where you have an indirect r ... [more]

A very urban bike path going around the back of some busy streets, and what a pleasure it is to use it, despite the temperature being -5 C. Assen in the Netherlands, 22nd of December.

Reindeer in a kinderboerderij in Assen on the 22nd of December at a temperature of -5 C.

A rubbish bin for cyclists on the move. This is on a cycle-path near a school in Assen. Making throwing rubbish into a bin into a "fun" thing to do probably helps to avoid litter. The bin is called a "blikvanger". This usually means "eye ... [more]

Quite apart from being good for accommodating bicycles, one of the other excellent things about decent cycling infrastructure is that it lends itself to other activities too. Tonight is the first day of Assen's annual avondvierdaagse. Th ... [more]

Kinderboerderij in Assen. This is a city farm for children (and adults) to visit. Most residential areas across the country have one of these. We know of six in Assen so far. Like many such things, this is not car friendly at all. It is ... [more]

Excellent bike path and pavement next to one of the Kinderboerderijen in Assen. There's some kind of donkey in that field if you look closely. This is one of our alternative routes to one of the schools and to the centre of the city.

Part of Eliza's commute to and from school. Despite appearances, this is very much an _urban_ cycle route. It just happens to pass through one of the many small woods in Assen. The path is tarmac and very smooth and wide with no signs of ... [more]

Bridge on cycle path in Assen. This is a very old cycle path crossing an even older bridge. The path is 3 metres wide, but narrows to a mere 2.5 metres over the bridge. This is the narrowest cycle path I've found in this area.

When service vehicles (this is is for an electricity and gas supply company) need to access areas which are only accessible by bike and footpath they can do so without greatly inconveniencing cyclists too much because the paths were built w ... [more]

This car may look in the photo as if it's overtaking the cyclists, but it's not. There is no one in the car, which is parked. The driver has chosen to park in such a way that he blocks the road instead of the cycle lane. Assen, Netherlan ... [more]

Sound barriers being installed along a road which is being widened in Assen. The road is being widened from 1 lane each way to 2 lanes each way. Even though the road will have only a 70 km/h speed limit (44 mph), the problem of noise fro ... [more]

You see these posts around occasionally. It reads (English first, then Dutch): This is a climate wood. These trees are at this moment busy tieing up CO2. That is desperately needed, for CO2 discharge is an important cause of climate chan ... [more]

New not yet completed cycle path replacing older "hybrid" path

New properly segregated path replacing older hybrid style provision. Also note that the road is being reduced from three lanes at this point to two.

New segregated provision replacing older style hybrid path. Note how plenty of room is given for overtaking, for car doors etc. and how cyclists are sensibly segregated from both pedestrians and motorists. Where the path meets a side ... [more]

Brand new fully segregated path approaching a junction. Note how the entrances for driveways are kept deliberately narrow so that drivers have to take care crossing the cycle path.

Entering a lower capacity street. This is a single direction bike path leading to a low speed street with on street bike lanes. The woman in the red jacket is on the wrong side of the road. Building paths as wide as they are here means t ... [more]

The Tegelijk Groen sign tells you that all the green cycle lights will go green at once and you can cross in any direction (even diagonally). If you watch the video you'll see how this leads directly to a newly upgraded road. Note how th ... [more]

Assen town centre. The road isn't compltely pedestrianized, however motor vehicles are not allowed here all the time. In practice this works very well for cycling.

The centre of Assen. As ever this demonstrates the wide demographics of cyclists in the Netherlands.

There's an event on in Assen, so extra cycle parking has been provided and there is are yellow overflow cycle parking signs ([P] Fiets) installed on this and several other lamp-posts to point to the overflow cycle parking areas just outside ... [more]

Fairly typical street scene showing more cycle parking in Assen. The streets have an enormous amount of space for bicycles right outside the shops, cafes etc. Note also the blue right turn sign. This has an "except cyclists" sign underne ... [more]

One of many bikes parked inside the covered shopping centre. This one has a particularly stylish way of transporting a youngster voorop (on the front). See also #12360 for another view of the same place.

Bikes parked near the Albert Heijn supermarket in Assen, including a rare MTB, but also more normal bikes. Watch the video to see some more of the bikes parked not just here but also inside the covered shopping area. There were plenty ... [more]

Bikes parked next to the Koopsmansplein in Assen. There is a similar layer of bikes all around the plein as you can see if you look closely next to the ice cream stall at the far side. Some bikes are parked at stands, but while there are a ... [more]

More of Assen's bikes by the Koopmansplein. Note that the "wheelbender" type of rack shown here is quite common but does not cause the problems you might expect due to being a little larger in size than often seen in the UK. It is qui ... [more]

A different style of bike parking. This rack grips the wheel but is not a "wheelbender" because it grips a larger proportion of the circumference of the wheel. There is an extra arm which holds bikes more securely and allows for locking. Al ... [more]

It's the 21st of December, -4 C, about half past mid-day on a working day. The bike racks are more than full as usual. Watch this video to get an idea of how many cyclists you see here, even on cold days. The paths have, of course, all b ... [more]

It's the 21st of December, before mid-day on a work-day and -4 C. Assen in the winter. Plenty of bikes around. The white between the tiles is salt. All the paths are well salted and it's quite safe to cycle.

22nd of December. It's -5 C, but no-one's enthusiasm for cycling is damped too much by this. It's the last Saturday before Christmas. The racks in the city are all full, there are bikes parked everywhere other than the racks too and the ... [more]

Down a gentle slope at the biggest high-rise in Assen there is a good bike shop and watched cycle parking.

Cycle parking at Assen station. There really are quite a lot of bikes here for a city of 63000 people. Play the video to get an idea of how many. Not all the bikes are in this park - there is another similar cycle park on the opposite side ... [more]

At this school in Assen,. there are 850 cycle parking spaces for 725 students. The bikes show up very well on the google maps aerial photography. Try counting them. A very high quality cycle path leads from the school entrance to most ... [more]

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