A City Bike Crisis

Amsterdam claims that the amount of bikes is equal to its citizens living here. From recent statistics, that would would come down to 800.000 inhabitants, as the number of bikes. Despite the many advantages of biking around town, there seems to be a rising frustration around my beloved mode of transport.

Published by Robin on 10/02/2015

Whereas other global cities are embracing the biking culture, developing their infrastructures, promoting cycling over public and car transport, the city of Amsterdam seems to be stuck. And I notice it every single day, whether it's in front of my appartement or somewhere on location, parking my bike is a challenge. Wherever my eye reaches there are bikes, in all kinds of forms, in different positions and finding a gap to park my beloved bike is a quest. Especially when you're in a hurry. There seems to be no clear rules and guidance. What's next Amsterdam? CT_Bikes_2 200 bikes removed a day. The municipality of Amsterdam has recently announced that it has removed 200 bikes per day in 2014, which would indicate 1 bike per 11 inhabitant. Reason? Wrongly parked, broken and left-behind, a danger to society or bikes that passed their parking duration. CT_Bikes_3 The municipality bike thief. And sometimes there isn't a clear reason: It happened to me a few times over the last year. You've parked your bike, attend an appointment, return: bike gone and nowhere to be seen. Was it stolen? Did my parking memory fail on me? Luckily somebody told me that a big Amsterdam city branded truck had just taken hundreds of bikes. It was just taken away, claimed to be parked wrongly (not attached to a bridge, pole or bike standard). Really? CT_Bikes_6 CT_Bikes_5 The bike depot. And then there's only one place where my beloved bike has been brought to: the renowned bike depot. Located almost outside of Amsterdam, it takes you at least an hour to get there, by train and bus, 10min. walk. You enter a building in the middle of nowhere with a backyard with thousands of bikes. After you hand-down a description at the information counter, you're praying that they have my beloved friend. After browsing the fields of metal, I'm lucky. And after paying a fine of €15,- I can start my biking journey back to the land of the living. CT_Bikes_3 Feeling bullied. I was lucky a few times, but its getting worse. Around 80.000 bikes have been removed last year and many citizens are angry and frustrated by its city's policy. There's no room to park, there are no extra facilities created to park a bike. The bike flat at Central Station is flooded, the city centre too crowded, not to forget with all the tourist bike rentals on top of it... the 'Amsterdammer' feels bullied although it's not their fault. There's nothing they can do about it. CT_Bikes_1 Solutions? Just like birth control, maybe initiate bike control? Every citizen to be an owner of solely one single bike? The municipality has launched the 'bike coach' on 6 most crowded locations inside the city center. City helpers that guide bikers on how to park their bike and where not. A good thought of educating people, but if I'm in a hurry I don't have time for some jadajada. Other ideas are to use the canals and flooded beds to create some extra parking space for bikes. But especially the surrounded inhabitants are against additional nuisance and feel that canals should be protected at all means. CT_Bikes_7 As you can see there's is a lot of back and forth, it's the municipality against the citizens and our beloved friend is in serious danger. Be careful on where to park, because if it's not a junk, it's the municipality that cuts away your bike from the streets. If you dear reader have a brilliant solution, let us know, we're in desperate need. - Robin -

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