There is a huge and dangerous difference in
mass and speed between a bus and someone on a bicycle. That is why the Dutch separate these
types of traffic as much as possible.
And this is a very old tradition that started at the bus stop.
This picture from 1953 shows a bus stop with a cycle track
around it in Utrecht. Sixty years ago the Dutch already
separated people cycling from the buses at the bus stop.
Other pictures from that time show how people cycle through this
bus stop bypass. It was not much, but there was enough
room for bus passengers to board the bus without interfering
with the people cycling around them. The bypass was two buses long and swerved in a wide curve.
So reducing speed while cycling was not necessary.
The bypass connected to a cycle lane. And from this it is only a small step to
a completely separated cycle path. And that is exactly what we find on this
place today. The bus stop has moved away from here but
the cycle track stayed. This 1969 picture shows that at that time this system was
not used everywhere. But even that place does have a cycle
track around the bus stop today. Cycling around this bus stop is possible without any interference
with the people waiting for the bus. Because the system has been in use for
over half a century all passengers are very used to it.
They know they have to cross the cycle path after leaving the bus and they do so
with care. Only after this woman has reached the
safety of the sidewalk she checks her belongings and is on her
way Most of the modern bus stops have a
waiting island of at least two meters wide. The crosswalk across the cycle path is
marked with tactile tiles for the visually impaired and the curbs
are lowered for people in mobility scooters or with
strollers. When a bus arrives there is no interaction at all between people cycling and that bus. Motor traffic has to stay behind the bus.
There’s no room for overtaking. And once the cycle path is clear
the pedestrians carefully cross it. Even in winter conditions this system
works perfectly. The view from the saddle shows
it is very easy to pass the bus and the passengers
that just left it. When there isn’t much space
the waiting island can be a lot narrower. But even that works very well. You these narrow waiting islands
in narrower high streets as well. The few tiles wide area prevents that
passengers step into the cycle path right away
and that is precisely enough to make the bus stops safe for all. At very busy stops we see a barrier
between the cycle track and the bus stop.
This prevents larger groups of people stepping into the cycle track without
realizing it. So this is the standard Dutch solution for a bus stop:
a cycle path around it. A waiting island that is preferably
at least two meters wide with a safe and clear crossing,
also for people with disabilities. If possible there is a place to park
your bicycle, an indication of the waiting times and a shelter for the waiting passengers.
A perfect and safe place for the bus to stop. At least if it had to stop…