Monday 09 December 2019

Amsterdam’s new junior bicycle mayor wants lights and music on smart bike paths

Junior bike mayor, Armin Taheri, centre Photo: Anke Teunissen

He wants to light the bike lanes by night and have them play ‘funky’ music by day. Amsterdam has chosen 10-year-old Armin Taheri as its new junior bicycle mayor.

The announcement was made at the opening of a new exhibition about cycling at Nemo science museum on Thursday evening, after 50 contenders were invited to make a prototype of their idea.

Sharon Dijksma, head of transport at Amsterdam municipal council, announced that Taheri had won ‘because we thought that was such a good idea’ and said the council would work on making the plan into a reality.

Taheri told DutchNews.nl: ‘There are sensors in the path and if a cyclist comes they play music in the day and light lamps at night. The reason is so that people cycle more and it is more fun.’

He was awarded with a special mayoral livery collar – a modified bicycle chain – and a new bicycle by the nine-year-old former mayor Lotta Crok.

The idea, which originated in Amsterdam, was to make ‘cities fit for children’ and 50 adult bicycle mayors worldwide have reportedly adopted the theme.

BYCS, a social enterprise campaigning for dramatically more bike use in cities, created a network of bicycle mayors and ‘hopes to appoint at least five junior bike mayors in the coming months,’ it said in a press release.

The runners-up for the contest were Lizzy Stroo, who wanted to make special bike routes to teach young children to cycle safely and Adam Belbah, who wanted a children’s bicycle-based amusement park. Dijksma said the city would try to achieve these ideas too.

Katelijne Boerma, cycling mayor of Amsterdam said that Taheri’s ideas summed up the two main concerns with getting children cycling. ‘Cycling is an important way to get even more children in cities fit,’ she said. ‘Safety is number one, and fun is the best way to get more children over the threshold…A pilot with a lit bicycle path near the Sloterplas seems like a really good idea to me.’

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