Texting whilst cycling to be banned in the Netherlands
Last year, 21.400 people were severely injured in traffic accidents. The new Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, wants to reduce the number of road accident victims. To ensure these numbers fall, many measures will be taken, one of them being the barring of mobile phone use whilst cycling.
Political and public support
The minister wrote, in a letter to the House of Representatives, that there is a great deal of public and political support for a ban on texting whilst cycling. In fact, at the start of this year, according to research commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, 75 percent of Dutch people condoned a ban on the active use of ones smartphone whilst cycling in the Netherlands.
Next year, van Nieuwenhuizen will put forward a legislative proposal banning texting whilst cycling. The proposal will also include amounts for the fines, which will be issued to those violating the law.
The ban will have to be clear in what it prohibits and it must be enforceable, the minister stated. Currently, she is in discussions with the police, Public Prosecution Department and the Council of State. It is likely that the ban will be put into place in 2019 or 2020.
Last year, former Transport Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen announced that she was working on passing a ban on texting whilst cycling.
In addition to the legislative proposal, a new campaign will start in the summer, addressing the use of smartphones when driving and cycling. However, according to research from public interest institution Veiligheid NL, very few accidents are due, in part, to texting whilst cycling.
Results from the research deem listening to music and talking to another cyclist as more dangerous. In the accidents resulting from these circumstances, a higher percentage of victims have to take a trip to the hospital, namely 3 percent and 11 percent respectively. In accidents involving texting whilst cycling, only 1,2 percent of victims had to go to the emergency department.