I know this thread is a bit old, but as for the article, I thought "Ain't that the truth". I rode the Rhine last May and coming out of Arnhem I wrote in a diary:
"Going through Arnhem, I crossed the Bridge and then shortly thereafter came across a most disconcerting experience: hills! I hadn’t had them for a while, but I landed up having a mostly fast ride into the countryside to my hotel, nearly interrupted by a roll in the hay or more accurately the road with a number of relatively young and attractive Dutch girls. The Dutch crossing signs seem to differentiate between cyclists and walkers with different reds and greens for them – so I stopped at a red cyclist light and nigh on had the three girls pile into me, as they didn’t expect me to stop. I caught them up and asked them why they had cycled through the red cycle light at high speed, and it turned out that it was acceptable when the green walker light was on."
That traffic circle he mentions at the end is a monstrosity though!
@RobSN , I am not aware of any such laws, I suspect it was a rather liberal interpretation, along the lines of: if the pedestrian light is green in our direction, then there will be no cross traffic, so we can safely go.
Either way, well written!
“But I still struggled to navigate complicated traffic situations in the old city. Keeping track of all the other bikes, cars, mopeds, and pedestrians—all moving in different directions, at different speeds—seemed to exceed my processing power.
Why were the Dutch so much more comfortable on a street that I saw as filled with dangers? As with so many aspects of their society, it seemed to depend on subsuming the needs of the individual to the needs of the community. “If you are not able to anticipate what other people will do, you will have lots of small accidents, or near accidents,” Bot told me, in a café down the street from our apartment. “You must be communicating with your eyes to the other riders in the street. Your decisions must be based on what is best for the flow of traffic, not what is best for your trip in particular”
They are talking about riding in the historic city center, where streets are narrow, there are no bike lanes, and there are tons of pedestrians and bikers.
Interestingly enough, I think downhill skiers would do better than the author.
It is the exact same thing: both on bikes or skis, you absolutely do not want to stop, but itks easy enough to adjust your course a bit so you swing around someone.
Also, in both situations, you need to be predicatable in your actions, so that others can adapt to your course.
notice the similarities in these two images, on of the main square in Delft, on from a ski run: