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Dutch cities want to ban scooters from bike paths11 December 2013, by Alexandra Gowling
The four biggest cities in the Netherlands are asking the Dutch government to take action on scooters, by taking them off bike paths and making riders wear helmets.
Now, scooters with supposedly maximum speeds of 30 km per hour are permitted to ride on bike paths and their riders do not have to wear helmets.
Recently, Dutch political parties have called for tougher penalties on hooligan road users, including those who soup-up their scooters over the maximum permitted speeds.
The breadth of scooters, according to the Foundation for Road Safety Research (SWOV), frequently puts cyclists at risk on bike paths.
According to SWOV’s research, if scooters were relegated to the road it would save around 260 victims a year in Amsterdam alone from ending up in a hospital or emergency centre. That is a 30 per cent decrease from current levels.
In 2012, there were 689 victims of scooter accidents in the four cities, with 53 per cent of those just in Amsterdam, usually on the bike path. Further, almost half of all traffic fatalities in Amsterdam were moped riders.
In the letter, the cities also want to know if they are able to do more to tackle speeding scooters.
Photo by Flickr user FaceMePLS
They estimate the 77 per cent of scooter drivers go over the permitted speed of 25 km an hour.
The cities want to be able to take people’s licences away based on speed measurements from radar or laser devices.
Currently, they depend on roller bank measurements, which determine a vehicle’s speed by showing how fast its wheels are turning.
Testing the new rules
SWOV proposed that Amsterdam could conduct a test with obligatory helmets and scooters on the road in Stadsdeel Noord.
This area has a natural boundary of water and rural land, which reduces the chance that scooter riders would be confused about where the trial would and would not apply.