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Scooters on bike paths issue remains unresolved

The ongoing discussion about whether scooters (snorfietsen) should be banned from bike paths is still unresolved, months after the Minister for Infrastructure supported Amsterdam’s request to move scooters onto roads.

The question of banning scooters from bike paths is a perpetual headache for Amsterdam and other Dutch cities, as urban scooter numbers increase and many scooter drivers generate safety hazards by travelling faster than the 25 km per hour speed limit on bike paths.

Undecided Minister

At the start of the year, Melanie Schultz van Haegen, the Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment, dismissed requests to remove scooters from bike paths.

Then, after much lobbying from the Amsterdam city council, Schultz endorsed the introduction of compulsory helmets for scooters, which would enable them to use roads instead of bike paths.

However, since the Minister’s statement in June, no further progress has been made on the introduction of new rules, despite predictions that the plan would be discussed in the House at the start of October.

Politicians divided

According to direct enquires with politicians by Het Parool, the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) in The Hague is still divided over whether to allow city municipalities the power to introduce compulsory helmets for scooter drivers.

Het Parool even suggests that a majority of the House would not support the introduction of helmets, with members of the PVV, CDA, VVD and SP parties seeing no measures being taken by the Ministry to give the city municipalities the control they require.

Heated debate

Some MPs, such as VVD representative Barbara Visser, believe creating one set of rules for large cities, and other road rules for the rest of the country, would create a confusing "mixed bag" of laws.

Visser also argues that moving scooters onto roadways could affect the flow of traffic, as cars would need to slow down when driving behind scooters.

Amsterdam councillor for Transport, Pieter Litjens, on the other hand, supports the local introduction of helmets, arguing that "scientific research indicates that the number of fatalities drops significantly when scooter riders drive with a helmet on roads."

Banned from Rijksmuseum tunnel

One small step in support of scooter-free bike paths is that the Rijksmuseum has recently banned all forms of motorised vehicles from passing through its central covered passage, which cycling groups famously battled to maintain open to cyclists after the renovation of the museum.

As of the end of October the passage is open only to pedestrians and cyclists, with a camera system installed to detect any brom- or snorfietsers who choose to disobey the new rules.

Scooter users will receive a fine of 95 euros if they are caught driving through the tunnel.


Source: Het Parool

Beatrice

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Beatrice Clarke

Beatrice is a native Melbournian who moved to the Netherlands in 2009. With a background in independent publishing and fashion, Beatrice honed her understanding of Dutch language and culture working...

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