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Bicycling

Streetfilms: More Incredible Bike Porn from Holland!

Happy smiling (Dutch) people riding bikes. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

This is the second in Clarence Eckerson Jr.'s series of films about how the Dutch reclaimed their streets from the automobile. Today's topic: The low-lying nation's busiest bike path: The Vredenburg in Utrecht.

In Utrecht you'll see the most mesmerizing site: Vredenburg carries 33,000 cyclists on an average day! Sixty percent of trips into the city are by bike. Private cars are banned from the road, so all you will see is scores of people on bikes, plus pedestrians, many buses and the very occasional taxi (taxis aren't very popular in Utrecht, a classic second city).

On the plane ride home, I went through nearly 2,000 shots from Amsterdam and Utrecht and realized so much of this good footage will not figure in the final product of my mega-documenary from Utrecht. So I created a fun montage using some of the best shots and figured plenty of you would love to just sit back and watch the bicycles flow by — often in tandem, thanks to properly wide lanes.

It's funny to think that this roadway was for decades the sole domain of cars. But in the last few years, Utrecht officials turned the major roadway into a bike- and bus-only conduit — something most Americans simply think can't be done "here," even though Amsterdam and Utrecht had car cultures just as strong as we do.

As reported by the Bicycle Dutch website:

Up until the 1990s, private motorized traffic had been allowed to use this street on the north side of Vredenburg square. In the 1960s, it was a big arterial road with at least four and sometimes six lanes of traffic, including bus lanes. Nowadays only buses use the street and the many people cycling. An estimated 20,000 people pass here every day on their bicycle. Motor traffic was relocated wide around the old city centre. Not to one particular new route, but it was dispersed over a large number of other routes.

The Vredenburg in 1961 (above) and in 2014. Photo: Bicycle Dutch
The Vredenburg in 1961 (above) and in 2014. Photo: Bicycle Dutch
The Vredenburg in 1961 (above) and in 2014. Photo: Bicycle Dutch

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