Cyclists' revolt prompts government to crack down on 'scooter menace'

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The sanctity of the bicycle in Holland knows no bounds. From January stricter measures are being introduced to combat the creeping presence of that noisy, malodorous upstart, the scooter.

Since Tuesday police in Amsterdam have begun a clampdown against scooters, using laser speed guns, carrying out spot checks for driving licences and alcohol use, and stopping riders without helmets.

Scooters and mopeds account for a fifth of traffic accidents in the city, despite making just two percent of journeys.

Websites have been set up where cyclists across the country vent their frustration over the ‘scooter terror’ taking over the once peaceful cycle lanes. In Amsterdam alone a petition calling for action against scooters acquired nearly 4,000 signatures in ten days.

One cyclist living in Eindhoven wrote on a website: “What I really can’t stand is the stink that scooters create. What a nice healthy bike ride, I think as I’m gassed by yet another scooter.’

Recent research by Stichting Consument en Veiligheid found that the number of scooter accidents increased by 87 per cent between 2005 and 2009. Every year 10,000 scooter riders need first aid, most of whom are between 15 and 19 years old.

Last October justice and security minister Ivo Opstelten and Melanie Schultz van Haegen, minister for infrastructure and the environment, pledged to draw up a national strategy.

From January 1 the speed limit of 25 km/h for motorised scooters will be more rigidly enforced (currently riders are only fined if they exceed 39 km/h) and local authorities will be able to ban the vehicles from cycle lanes.

The government also wants to introduce measures to encourage people to switch to electric scooters, which are quieter and have lower emissions.

Source: De Pers: Dood aan de scooter
Photo by FaceMePLS’

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