Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Motorised two wheelers on bike ways? Off they go!

World Streets is not favorable to bikeways being shared with motorized vehicles of any sort. To our way of thinking the only possible exception would be very low speed (20 kph max) electrical-assisted bikes, and that carefully enforced by the police. Here is what is going on in Amsterdam, one of the bike capitals of the world, on just this topic. Time to make this clear in all our cities. It's a no-brainer. Off they go!

Away with scooters

Source: Nieuwsuit Amsterdam, 14-10-2009

Amsterdammers seem to be fed up with scooters on bicycle paths, because they endanger cyclists and pollute the air. There are 67,000 scooters and mopeds in Amsterdam. 25,000 have blue license plates, which means that they are allowed on regular bicycle paths.

The blue licence plates have once been introduced to allow old people with motor-assisted bicycles to ride more safely, argues Scato van Opstall in a letter to the editor of Het Parool. However, police seem to do little about abuse.

“As a result, thousands of racing, small particles emitting little scooters are pushing cyclists off the bicycle path. Or they are running over our children while hooting. How safe, these separate bicycle paths. And how healthy, the dust from their two-stroke engines when they pass you.”

In a letter to a bicycle safety action group, Alderman Hans Garson acknowledges that the growth of the number of scooters is ‘remarkable’ and that their use of bicycle paths is causing problems. He says that bicycle paths should be wider, but often this is impracticable.

Council member Fjodor Molenaar (GroenLinks) has argued that scooters and mopeds should be banned from bicycle paths. Ivar Manuel (D66) is sympathetic to the idea.

Referring to the colour of the licence plates, Marjolein de Lange of cyclists’ organisation Fietsersbond speaks of a ‘blue moped plague’. The municipality wants to address air pollution by promoting electrical scooters, but this is the wrong approach, she argues in an article in Fietsersbond magazine OEK.

Instead, the national government should allow only human-powered cycles on bicycle paths. Meanwhile, the municipality should enforce speed limits for scooters on bicycle paths as well as the ban on scooters in parks.

The Zuidoost District has just released a draft policy paper that proposes to tighten rules for the use of bicycle paths by scooters, which are more lenient in Zuidoost than elsewhere. The paper further recommends a crackdown on district staff who drive their cars on bicycle paths.

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Thanks to Todd Edelman for the heads-up.

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