Wednesday 22 March 2023

Fatbikes which go too fast may not be insured, inspectors warn

A fatbike in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark. Photo: Evert Elzinga ANP

Fatbikes which can travel faster than 25 kph should have a yellow licence plate and if they don’t they are not insured, transport ministry inspectors warned on Tuesday.

The electric bicycles with wide tyres are an increasingly popular mode of transport in the Netherlands, especially among youngsters who don’t want to wear a helmet on a moped – which will become compulsory next year.

Electric bikes which go faster than 25 kph or are more powerful than 250 watts must be approved by the vehicle licencing authority RDW and that means they need a yellow plate. They also have to travel on the roads, not bike paths.

The inspectorate said it had warned 27 online sellers for selling bikes which have not been approved for use.

The ANWB motoring organisation has also warned parents to make sure their offspring are properly insured if they have a faster fatbike. ‘If you are involved in an accident on a fast bike, you can get into serious trouble with liability,’ ANWB ebike expert Wouter Duijndam said.

The ANWB is currently researching the quality and safety of fatbikes currently on offer in the Netherlands.

‘The ones we have looked at so far are almost without exception equipped with cheap gears, cheap batteries and a cheap motor,’ Duijndam said. ‘The chains, cogs and the brakes are also often made of the cheapest materials.’ Most fatbikes are imported into the Netherlands from China.


Meanwhile the transport ministry said on Tuesday it is investing €50 million to boost the safety of cycling in effort to ensure there is no increase in cycling-related traffic accidents despite the increasing popularity of bikes.

The campaign will focus on the elderly, simple accidents, the situation near schools and sports clubs and congestion on bike paths, transport minister Mark Harbers said.

The money comes on top of €780 million earmarked for improvements to the cycling infrastructure as part of a major mobility drive last week.

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