The End of Biking

Read in Het Parool of 2 June 2014:


The era of Amsterdam as a great city for biking is coming to an end. After twenty years of growth we will no longer cycle that much. Really a pity. The miraculous growth of biking in the Dutch capital was due to many things: high parking tariffs for cars (since the end of the eighties), more young people living in the city (since the nineties), new bike lanes (since the millenium), lots of bike shops, great bike storage, beautiful bike design, urban densification, investments in public transport lagging behind, peak car, the end of suburbanization,  etc. After a slow beginning, the share of biking began to steeply rise: a success nobody could explain. Since 1990 there was a growth of bike trips in the city of more than forty per cent: from 443.000 tot 613.000. Exponential growth. In the modal split, the share of biking is now more than forty per cent. Can you imagine?  But the growth of bikes and biking is decreasing already. You can feel it. Soon it will going to halt. And then it will steeply drop. It’s the pattern Malcolm Gladwell described in ‘The Tipping Point’. Why? Because of all the scooters.

The number of scooters in Amsterdam went from 8.000 in 2007 to more than 30.000 in 2014: a growth of 275 per cent! On some bike lanes in rush hour, the share of scooters is already five to ten per cent. Two years ago there was no scooter parked in my street, last year there were six of them; now I counted at least twelve! My kids can no longer play on the sidewalk because of all those big, lousy machines. This is, again, exponential growth. As a professional biker I can feel it too. I prefer walking now. Yes I will stop biking. It has become uncomfortable, clearly unsafe, far too dangerous. In general, we are reaching the tipping point soon. So an era will come to an end. I’m very, very sorry. I apologise. Nobody intervenes. The mayor can do nothing, he says, he’s powerless. That’s our political system. It all depends on the Dutch government. But The Hague is far away, they’re not interested in Amsterdam problems. As a citizen I feel powerless too. Why voting any longer? That’s the democratic crisis. The system breaks.






2 responses to “The End of Biking”

  1. […] uncomfortable, clearly unsafe, far too dangerous”…. Lees het hele artikel bij de bron: Delicious/spacemakers TagsAmsterdam fietser scooter verdrijft Share on Facebook Tweet This Share on Google […]

  2. Martin Cleaver Avatar
    Martin Cleaver

    Scooters should never have been allowed on bike paths in the first place. And we should get them off as soon as possible. If scooter riders have to wear a helmet, I predict that scooters will be a lot less popular and trendy in Amsterdam than now. Certainly if the council steps in as now seems likely. There is no logic to ruining Amsterdam’s bikers’ paradise by allowing scooters… and the legal basis is ridiculous. No other country in Europe (outside the Benelux) allows motorised two-wheeler use without helmets. The rule was for the precursor to electric bikes (the Spartamet) and that’s how it should stay. (And that also means that electric scooters should do 50 and me on the road.) The blue registration plate is a horrific mistake.

Geef een reactie

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *