The big Dutch cities are hoping to get tough on the use of fatbikes, with number plates and a minimum age to use them among the options, the Parool reported on Friday.
The bikes, with large tyres and a robust frame, have surged in popularity since moped users have been required to wear helmets
Amsterdam transport chief Melanie van der Horst has told councillors in a briefing that she is concerned about the way many young fatbike users put themselves at risk by cycling fast without helmets and adding to problems on the already overcrowded cycle paths. In addition, she said, the drivers are not insured.
This summer, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague asked caretaker transport minister Mark Harbers if the fatbikes can be moved to the main roads, which in the capital would be an option because the speed limit is being cut to 30 kph next month.
Another option would be to intensify checks, Van der Horst said. Last week, spot checks were carried out on 50 fatbikes on the city’s roads and one third had been souped up to travel at up to 50 kph.
Fatbikes are currently categorised as electric bicycles which means they can travel at up to 25 kph and use cycle lanes. But government officials favour categorising them as mopeds because of the high speeds they can reach. In that case, users would need a helmet, number plate, licence and insurance, Van der Horst said.
However, insurance companies have stopped insuring fatbikes because they are so popular with thieves.
Van der Horst said she is not in favour of introducing helmets because research has indicated that would impact on the number of people who do cycle. As yet there are no clear figures about the role of fatbikes in cycling accidents.
In June, however, transport ministry inspectors warned nine different internet companies offering illegal fast fatbikes on the Dutch market that they face fines of €15,000 if they continue to do so.
The inspectors said at the end of last year that fines would follow if companies continued to sell bikes that have not been approved for use on Dutch roads.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation