Shared Space in Haren

Haren high street Shared Space

The Shared Space in Haren in The Netherlands is notable in that the inventor of Shared Space, Hans Monderman, gave it his personal blessing. That was before people complained they were unable to cross the road, leading to the installation of zebra crossings that make it intrinsically no longer a Shared Space. There are also now quite a lot more signs than it used to have, including signs banning cyclists from riding on the "pavement", which of course many cyclists do because they do not like cycling in fast and/or heavy motor traffic. It is now just a road like any other, albeit with expensively paved junctions. The lack of kerbs and the large open junctions give drivers more options for driving at speed in random directions.

Needless to say there is nothing for cyclists, who at one end are forced very abruptly off the protected cycleway into the carriageway at a very awkward junction. At the other end of the high street it is necessary to take the lane to negotiate a roundabout, and then there is a cycle lane that leads up to a protected cycleway. Before the Shared Space scheme, the protected cycleways on both sides of the street carried on along the high street.

Cycling here was like cycling on any conventional British high street, but with less predictable motor vehicle movements. As you can see from the video below I experienced speeding and a number of close passes, including with opposing traffic. At the roundabout I had to take the lane aggressively, because the car driver behind tried to overtake me at the junction. When I was there there there was relatively little motor traffic, but it can get busy and congested, as you can see from the Google Street View above. Cycling in heavy traffic with articulated trucks is not a recipe for pleasant cycling or good life expectancy.