Transport minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen has said she will not publish plans to make helmets compulsory for all moped users until next spring, making it impossible for the legislation to be passed before the March general election.
MPs had called for helmets to be made compulsory, on the basis of doctors’ recommendations, but Van Nieuwenhuizen’s party, the right-wing VVD, is opposed.
The minister has denied claims that she has been delaying the plan by saying ‘unexpected issues’ had cropped up.
For example, there are practical obstacles about defining who should wear a helmet and what requirements the helmets should meet. This is currently being looked at by the TNO research institute which is not expected to report back until November, she told MPs in a briefing.
The minister said she is also concerned about the financial problems buying a helmet would create for people who had opted for mopeds as a cheap form of transport.
Christian Democrat MP Wytske Postma, who initiated the motion to make helmets compulsory, told the Telegraaf the minister appeared to be employing delaying tactics. ‘As far as we are concerned, it can be done sooner,’ he said. ‘The minister is making things unnecessarily complicated.’
Dozens of people a year are killed on low-powered mopeds known as snorfietsen, which carry blue license plates and are allowed on cycle paths – apart from in Amsterdam – provided they have a maximum speed of 25 km/h.
Helmets are only required for larger scooters with yellow plates, which have to use the roads.
Amsterdam made helmets compulsory for all moped users last year when it banned the vehicles from most of the city’s bike paths.
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