It was enough to draw stares from four visiting Northeastern University civil engineering students who gawked from a grassy shoulder, taking photos on their iPads of this gleaming vision from a bicyclist’s Oz.
“This,” howled Andrew Brunn, a burly 22-year-old engineering student grinning like a kid at Disneyland, “is totally crazy!”
To the average American, that’s exactly how Dutch bicycle traffic seems. This is a place with more bikes than people, where about 26 percent of commuting trips are taken by bicycle, where toddlers and 85-year-olds ride happily in traffic, and where the likelihood of getting killed on a bike is among the lowest in the world, about five times less than the United States.
Almost every major street features separated bike lanes, bike-specific traffic lights, bike highways, and yield signs that, together, deliver one message: The bicycle is king.