In a city where cyclists outnumber drivers, around 60,000 commuters in Amsterdam use scooters for their journeys. By Dutch law, scooters are allowed to drive up to 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) per hour. But according to research done in the Dutch capital, over 80 percent of scooters exceed this speeding limit, resulting in a “striking” number of accidents, as the City describes. Thus, Amsterdam’s municipality is leading other Dutch municipalities to ban scooters and mopeds (motorized, but low-power, bikes) from bike lanes, requiring them to use roads instead. The majority of Amsterdam’s parliament has voted for the scooter-ban and the city is aiming for an early implementation as early as March 2018.
“We are doing everything we can to make the air in Amsterdam cleaner. That includes unpleasant measures, such as an environmental zone,” Sustainability Alderman Abduleheb Choho says. “By carefully warning everyone with a too dirty scooter well in advance, we ensure that the introduction of this environmental zone goes as reasonably as possible.”
Moreover, as of the beginning of 2018, a low-emission zone dubbed as “milieuzone” will encompass all of Amsterdam, with the exception of the villages of Durgerdam, Holysloot, Ransdorp, and Zunderdorp. Scooters and mopeds manufactured in 2010 or earlier will no longer be allowed on Amsterdam’s streets as of January 1. Amsterdam has sent letters to 55,000 scooter owners in and around Amsterdam to inform them about the implementation of the environmental zone. Between January 1st and May, old scooter drivers who enter the environmental zone will receive a warning that will be followed by a fine of €90 ($108) if the violation is repeated.
About 60 percent of inner city journeys in Amsterdam are made on bike. “We are really far ahead in Amsterdam, but there is a tendency now to see bikes as a problem. People don’t see the magic of it anymore, because they’re so used to it. We see that kids are not riding in the city center anymore, because adults are afraid for them,” says CycleSpace Co-Founder, Maud de Vries. This may have been part of the motivation for Amsterdam to appoint the first Bike Mayor in the world, Anna Luten, who moved to New York City last summer to scout the cycling conditions of New Yorkers. There, Luten observed that one thing that the city is missing is the normalization of riding bicycles. “People will be encouraged to ride bikes more often once the infrastructure gets better, and [it] won’t get better as long as nobody’s asking for it,” Luten told progrss in an interview last year.