The Netherlands needs uniform traffic rules throughout the country to prevent accidents resulting from confusion about what measures apply where, traffic safety organisation VVN has said.
Currently, Dutch road users are confronted with “an unnecessary mishmash of rules” with every local council bringing in its own measures, VVN spokesman Rob Stomphorst told the Telegraaf.
For example, the organisation is in favour of a national rule that gives priority to either cyclists or cars on roundabouts. “At the moment you have to really pay attention and sometimes there are different rules in the same local council area,” Stomphorst said.
The same goes for mopeds with a speed limit of 25kph which have been relegated to the main roads in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam but are allowed on cycle paths elsewhere.
“But at the same time Utrecht allows fast electric bikes, which can travel at up to 45 kph, on cycle paths. All these exceptions and differences aren’t making things clearer and safer,” he said.
In June the VVN called on local councils to do something about superfluous road traffic signs, 600,000 of which, it said, can go.
The organisation also said that rainbow coloured zebra crossings are not a means to call attention to social issues. “There are creative ways of doing that without involving traffic, where safety is the overriding concern. We shouldn’t link these issues to traffic signs or markings. Home-made signs are also confusing,” Stomphorst said.
An infrastructure ministry spokesman told the paper that local councils “have the space to interpret the rules according to the local traffic situation. The provincial authorities or local council are free to determine what is best to promote safety and traffic flow,” he said.
All markings put up by private individuals are against the rules, the spokesman said. “But if it’s a banner saying ‘the school year has started’ then that can be allowed as long as it doesn’t bother drivers.”
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