The Dutch capital is world-renowned for its pro-cycling attitude. However, the city officials plan to take it one step further. And in the last couple of days, we’ve seen that not everybody is happy about it.
Convoys of mopeds were speeding down the city’s bike lanes, the riders purposefully not wearing helmets, honking their horns loudly. They protested against the new city regulation which forces them out of bike lanes into the traffic and demands that they wear head protection. Almost 50,000 people signed a petition pointing out the risk of potential accidents for mopeds in the faster-moving traffic. 4,000 citizens decided to comment on the policy when it was at consultation level, which is unheard of in Amsterdam.
“We really want to make a change and people need to see the change on the street: a fundamental improvement of public space,” the municipal head of transport, Sharon Dijksma, told the Guardian. “Public space is probably the most scarce item we have – like a jewel – and we need to take care of it. That’s not so easy sometimes as there are a lot of interests.”
The officials plan to ban petrol and diesel vehicles from the city centre by 2030, remove 10,000 parking spaces and hike the prices of the rest of the parking spots. The aim is simply to give more peace to cyclists, pedestrians and some space for children to play in. And to get rid of the pollution in the process.
“Pollution often is a silent killer and is one of the greatest health hazards in Amsterdam,” Dijksma added.
Do you agree with the officials’ decision?