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Amsterdam Draws Bike Boxes to Better Organize Bike Parking

Amsterdam cycling advocate Marjolein de Lange regales us with this tale from 2006 about how cyclists came up with a very simple solution (draw bike box outlines directly on the pavement!) to better organize the chaotic, random bike parking outside of a popular supermarket which is used by many blind patrons, physically challenged individuals and seniors. It's so simple and shows how sometimes engineers might over think a simple solution to a problem.

Marjolein tells us these are now common in many shopping areas in Amsterdam and other cities. Although I will add one comment: this also only works well in cities where nearly all the bikes do have kickstands.

Clarence Eckerson, Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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  • Rebecca_A

    Kickstands on every bike, new and used that leaves a bike shop unless a customer asks for it to be removed.

  • Jason

    And cities where you don't have to lock your bike....

  • http://www.streetfilms.org Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    Jason, all of these bikes are locked - to themselves. Most traditional Dutch bikes are heavy and lock the back tire. So that is one reason why it works, but people DO lock their bikes.

  • Nathanael Johnson

    Fascinating! So much to learn when the world is diverse enough to show these examples of doing things differently

  • qrt145

    I'd add then: where you don't feel like you must lock your bike _to a fixed object_. From what I've read, lots of bikes get stolen in the Netherlands too. The reason it's not considered a huge problem is that there are so many bikes that the odds that _your_ bike gets stolen are reasonably low.

  • moskos

    Bikes in Amsterdam are usually locked to fixed objects overnight. But why bother when shopping? Bike theft in Amsterdam is more of junkie problem -- addicts trying to make a quick buck by busting the worst lock or finding the bike that somebody forget to lock at all (come on, we've all done it! By and large bike theft in Amsterdam is not a matter of not professional thieves picking up bikes and putting them into vans. And if it were professional lock-cutting thieves, why would it matter what the bike is locked to?

  • ausserirdischesindgesund

    Why would anybody want a bike without a kickstand unless ist is a bike used exclusively for racing/exercise (and most probably too expensive to be locked outside anyway)?

    Are garden variety bikes in the USA sold without a stand?

  • Wilfried84

    When I was an exchange student in Germany, I would leave my loaner bike at the train station all day when I took the S-Bahn to Munich. The lock consisted of a metal rod that poked into the spokes that prevented the rear wheel from turning. You could probably break it off with your hand. No one thought twice about this, and the bike was never stolen. This was in the 80s. I wonder if it's changed at all since then?

  • http://gonetoguam.tumblr.com/ friscolex

    This bike valet dreams of a day when too many bikes to park is a problem. Well, it has been at post-season Giants games, I guess, but nothing on A'dam levels.

    Re: locking: My Dutch roommate said it's important to have several bikes. One for bumming around town doing errands, a nice long-distance one, a beater for the train station and a family one for the kids!

  • Erik Griswold

    BTW, that supermarket chain (Albert Heijn) is owned by a Dutch company set up for the purpose, Ahold: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahold
    Ahold also owns Stop & Shop and yet I have never seen a Stop & Shop located in a building the type of which we see in your film, even though they do exist in Stop & Shop's home market.

  • Erik Griswold

    Yes, so ingrained is the Road Bike Culture thanks to the Cult of the Johns:
    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2010/07/vehicular-cyclists-secret-sect.html

  • happykt

    I lived in Darmstadt Germany for over a year in 1994 and parked and locked my bike at the train station and came back in the evening and it was gone. The police said it was probably in Poland.