In most cities, cycling infrastructure isn't much more than a few dotted lines on the road. But that's not how it is in the Netherlands, one of the world's most cycle-friendly nations. Dutch cities have dedicated lanes that separate cars and bikes, making cycling an activity for young and old, female and male--not just the adventurous few.
A good example is this elegant circular bridge in Eindhoven, in southern Holland. Called the Hovenring, it lets cyclists completely avoid other road users and cross the busy A2 highway with minimal fuss. It also makes for better road flow, according to Gerhard Nijenhuis, an employee at IPV Delft, the firm that designed it.
"This way you avoid congestion, because the other traffic doesn't wait for the cyclists to pass," he says.
The Hovenring is 236 feet in diameter, and is suspended off the ground using a 230-foot central pylon and 24 thick cables. It opened in the summer of 2012, and has since been nominated for several design awards.
At a total cost of about $16 million dollars, the Hovenring isn't cheap. But it is already a well-known landmark. The city argues it's the sort of project that helps broaden cycling's appeal. "If you give cyclists ways to go long distances, then you pull people out of their cars, and stimulate cycling," Nijenhuis says.