Amsterdam makes creepy tunnels “feel” good for cyclists

This tunnel has been given better lighting. Photo: Ceescamel via Wikimedia Commons

Cyclists in Amsterdam Noord were being confronted with distinctive smells, lights and sounds when biking through four of the district’s creepiest tunnels, as part of an experiment to make them more inviting.

The trial, which was carried out by Amsterdam Bike City on behalf of the council earlier in the week at four tunnels in Amsterdam which locals had selected as being most creepy or unsafe.

A different sensory experience brought about by light, sound, smell or wind, was chosen for each of the four tunnels to make cyclists feel more at ease.

At the tunnel on the J.H. Hisgenpad, which cyclists chose because of its bad visibility, the emphasis was on better lighting.

“A tunnel like this can be the reason why people don’t cycle or choose a different route,’ project leader Pepijn Verpaalen said. “So if this can make it that little bit safer then people will use it or get their bikes out more often,” he said.

At the Kamperfoelieweg a fresh orangy smell was released into the tunnel. “I didn’t smell anything, just air,” one cyclist told local broadcaster AT5 while another said she thought the tunnel had just been cleaned.

Cyclists who used the tunnel at the J.H. van Heekweg were greeted by birdsong while at the Nieuwe Purmerweg tunnel users felt a breeze.

The results of the survey, which will be handed over to the city council, will determine if sensory sensations make cyclists feel safer.

The experiment cost €15,000, half of which was paid for by the council and half by the greater Amsterdam transport region.

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