The energy with which Zwolle carried out its innovative projects was singled out for praise. The bicycle roundabout in the Wipstrikkerallee is just one example of the various projects undertaken by Zwolle as part of the ’Cycling without obstacles’ theme. At this roundabout, cyclists can go all the way round, motorists cannot. Other cities nominated were Eindhoven, Velsen, Almere and Enschede.
Zwolle is the fifth city to win this award from the Dutch Cyclists’ Association. Earlier winners were Veenendaal, Groningen, Houten and Den Bosch. Zwolle gained special praise for its efforts to promote ‘Cycling without obstacles’.
Saskia Kluit, deputy General Manager of the Dutch Cyclists’ Association, explains that this theme is extremely important for cyclists. “We all encounter inconvenient obstacles from time to time. Low quality road surface, dangerous crossings and unnecessary detours may have a negative impact on the pleasure we get from cycling and may be a reason to give up cycling altogether. Zwolle is handling this very well by putting the cyclist’s interests first”.
The jury report sees the title as a reward for Zwolle’s bicycle policy, which it described as consistently ambitious since 1971. Bicycle facilities in the city are of high quality. Infrastructural gems like the Hanzeboog and the bike tunnel to the Stadshagen quarter won great acclaim. Still, according to Saskia Kluit, it is not just these big projects which make for good policy. “Having a good bicycle policy means you look at the city through cyclists’ eyes. Little things, like widening the area reserved for cyclists at traffic lights, make the cyclist feel understood and appreciated. This appreciation is mutual.”