In Ede, Gelderland there is a tunnel that cars and motorbikes are forbidden to drive through, but public transport buses and bikes are allowed to use. The warning signs are clear to drivers, but still, cars and motorbikes keep driving through the tunnel to the tune of 24,000 fines at 90 euro a piece since 3 December 2012. Cars and motorbikes used to be allowed to drive through the tunnel, but that was more than a year ago, which is ample time to get used to a new traffic situation one would think.
It boggles the municipality’s collective mind why cars and motorbikes keep driving through, especially since there’s a speed camera that captures them in the act. To find out what’s up with that, they’ve called upon university students to document people’s behaviour. To soften the barrage of fines being issued, the municipality has agreed to turn off the speed camera half of the day, although at random.
(Link: www.waarmaarraar.nl, photo by Heiloo Online, some rights reserved)
Tags: Ede, speed camera, tunnel, tunnels
Recently the Dutch Road Transport Directorate (RDW) has made some information about car registration accessible as open data, which means you can have a look at types of cars, license plates and even car colour.
In 2013 black, grey and white cars accounted for 80% of all cars sold. In Munich, Germany I was once told that most cars, besides being German brands like BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Volkswagen are usually dark blue, black or grey. The only exception would be Porsche as it is more high end, and then red, orange and yellow come into the mix.
The reason for the drab colours according to no statistics whatsoever and a decent amount of beer was that ‘neutral’ colours are easier to sell second hand than red, yellow and green cars. And when I think of a red car, I picture a Ferrari and if I think Lamborghini I picture a bright yellow car. I’ve seen a dark blue Ferrari and a grey Lamborghini and not only are they both boring, but they actually seem less expensive.
I heard a few times that pink cars get stolen more often as do red and white Opel Kadetts, which practically had their own column in Nijmegen’s regional paper De Gelderlander when I used to live out there.
(Link: sargasso.nl, Photo of Coen Tunnel by Erik Tjallinks, some rights reserved)
Tags: BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes, Nijmegen, Opel, Porsche, Volkswagen
This week a solar-powered street legal car named Stella, built by students from the Eindhoven University of Technology, was entered into the World Solar Challenge in Australia and won first place (PDF) in the new cruiser class.
While earlier this week students from the Delft University of Technology won for speed, the Eindhoven crew won for practicality, “with the ultimate goal of an entrant being able to meet the requirements for road registration in the country of origin.”
Why would a rainy country like the Netherlands even want to become a heavy hitter in solar-powered cars, you may wonder. “The Netherlands has enough sunlight to drive about 70 kilometres a day, given that the average drive only drives about 38 km/h. If you charge up the battery, you can drive 430 kilometres, which is a lot,” says Van Loon, one of the Eindhoven students.
(Link: www.kennislink.nl, Photo of Nuna7 and Stella by Jorrit Lousberg, some rights reserved)
Tags: Australia, Eindhoven University of Technology, solar car, Stella, World Solar Challenge
The Delft University of Technology won its fourth title back in 2007 with its solar powered car Nuna4, but this year with Nuna7 it picked up its fifth title in Adelaide, Australia yesterday.
The Dutch beat their archrivals of Tokai University, Japan who had won the last two editions.
There were obstacles on the way to the finish line: temperatures of almost 50 celsius in the cockpit, taking big chances with specially designed lenses to soak up solar rays, and a grasshopper that bounced around the cockpit.
(Link: www.kennislink.nl, Photo of Nuna7 by Nuon, some rights reserved)
Tags: Delft University of Technology, nuna, nuna7, solar car
Last week during a major traffic check on a motorway in Emmen near the German border 191,000 euro was found in the roof of a car. A 33-year-old male driver whose car reeked of marijuana was pulled over and searched by a drug sniffing dog. The traffic check was a joint operation of the Dutch cops, German cops, royal marshals, tax office and border guards.
Instead of finding what could have been marijuana, the Dutch cops found 191,000 euros stashed in the roof of the guy’s car. It was later confirmed that the man had been suspected of money laundering. He’s already walking around free, but he’s still a suspect.
All I can say is if you’re going to try not to attract attention to yourself for money laundering and then hide the money in your car, smoking dope in your car is akin to having a sign on the side of it that says “hi, the money is in here, please pull me over”.
Tags: drugs, marijuana, weed
‘Grab a small one, win a big one’: Amsterdam advertising agency Brandbase placed 100,000 miniature cars on Rotterdam’s Binnenrotte street near the local market. One of the toy cars had a marking under it with which you win a real car. Dutch advertising agency Brandbase patiently placed all of these cars, which were scooped up in 23 minutes. Marktplaats, a Dutch auction site also sell cars. Since it has a lot of competition, this was as an attempt to position the site as the ‘quickest route’ to getting rid of your car.
It was definitely the fastest way to get rid of one real car and 100,000 small ones. My childlike brains says it’s also nice to have all those toy cars to play with even if you don’t win.
(Link: www.amsterdamadblog.com, Photo of Matchbox toy cars by sarflondondunc, some rights reserved)
Tags: advertising, advertizing, Rotterdam, toys
The city of Haarlem wanted to create a safer situation where a main road crossed another main road coming off a bridge.
For some reason all practical solutions turned out impossible (more likely someone couldn’t be bothered) so the city opted for a work-around, albeit a well designed one. They built a bicycle bridge that wraps around the underside of the other bridge and then partially submerged the bicycle bridge. The result is either a submerged bridge or an open air tunnel, your pick.
The bridge was designed by IPV who seem to be specializing in these sort of crazy work-arounds—check their bicycle roundabout hovering above Eindhoven.
Mark Wagenbuur, the bicycle vlogger, visited Haarlem and shot one of his trademark videos there.
(Photo: ipv Delft)
Tags: bicycle bridges, bridges, ipv Delft, tunnels, water, water works, work-arounds
Toronto was probably the first Canadian city back in 2010 to build a Dutch-style ‘woonerf’, streets where the boundaries between the areas for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians have been removed, and now Montreal and Ottawa are adopting them as well. They’ve also adopted the word ‘woonerf’, a typical Dutch word and construct from 1934 to go with it.
When I was learning how to drive here I had to learn everything about these special residential zones where the driving speed is ‘at a foot’s pace’ (about 15 km/h, although it isn’t actually specified) and where a car must give right of way to all other drivers (including cyclists) upon entering and all other road users upon exiting. As well, any drivers coming at you from the right in a woonerf have right of way, and parking is only allowed where indicated.
(Link: www.bnr.nl, Photo by Payton Chung, some rights reserved)
Tags: Canada, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, woonerf
An unnamed Dutch woman was threatened with imprisonment for failing to insure her non-existent car in March of this year.
She was saved from that fate by a sympathetic judge in Noord Brabant who felt that the way the justice department hid behind its automated processes lacked care. The justice department should have noticed that something was amiss when they tried to repossess the uninsured and, most importantly, non-existent car. After all, why would a person own license plates but not a car?
Instead of stepping in and finding out what was going on, the justice department let its automated systems do the thinking and had the system pile up fine after fine until the computer said that now might be the time for imprisonment.
It is unclear if the accused will be taken out of the system or if the justice department will try and jail her again. The justice department seems to think that if the computer says so, you’re guilty, regardless of what a buttinsky judge thinks.
The blogosphere seems to believe this mess is the result of failing automation. I side with judge Wim Verjans who feels the humans hiding behind the computers are ultimately responsible.
Keeping the remainder of a punishment after the original punishment fell away because there were no grounds for punishment is a classical Dutch meme. The saying ‘Barbertje moet hangen’ (Babs must hang) stems from this principal. It was novelist Multatuli who wrote the story that started the meme—his Max Havelaar took a stand against the Dutch colonial system in 1860, but the underlying bureaucracy that pushes people around like they are nothing lives on. The unjust law with which alleged traffic offenders are pushed into this bureaucratic mess is called the Wet Mulder and was only introduced in 1989.
Tags: justice, Multatuli
The Coen (pronounced ‘coon’) Tunnel which runs under the North Sea Canal in Amsterdam built in 1966 is currently being fully renovated, a project that should run until 2014. The Second Coen Tunnel (that’s its name) was built from 2009-2013 and has me worried as a passenger when I go through it. I thought it was just me that felt claustrophobic in that tunnel as compared to the first one (shown here), but apparently traffic psychologists aren’t fans of the very narrow tunnel either, calling it names like “crash tunnel” and “death tunnel”.
Since its opening in mid May, there have been 55 accidents in the Second Coen Tunnel (65 according to other sources), which is either way much more than the average of four accidents a week in the first Coen Tunnel. The experts say they are too many red lights (red lights are used to indicate the right-hand side of the road, while white is for the left-hand side), which look like brake lights, no possible place to stop like in the first tunnel and it is very narrow.
First Coen Tunnel (gets full screen near 0:25), with some hip hop music:
Second Coen Tunnel, straight up, no music:
(Link: www.kennislink.nl, Photo of Coen Tunnel by Erik Tjallinks, some rights reserved)
Tags: Amsterdam, Coen Tunnel, traffic, tunnels