The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) has developed a smart electric bicycle prototype to help the elderly avoid causing accidents when riding their bikes. The new bicycle features a forward-looking radar mounted under the handlebars and a camera in the rear mudguard.
“The forward and rearward detection devices on the test bike are linked through an onboard computer with a vibrating warning system installed in the bicycle’s saddle and handlebars to alert cyclists to impending danger. The saddle vibrates when other cyclists approach from behind, while the handlebars do the same when obstacles appear ahead.”
Available in two years, the bike isn’t cheap at a price of between 1,700 euro and 3,200 euro and currently weighs 25 kilos. The smart bike sounds interesting, but it is ridiculously expensive and too heavy. And if it is to be a fancy bike, it will get stolen regularly in the big cities. Oddly enough, the Dutch media hasn’t been talking about it, which leads us to believe the smart bike is not being taking too seriously or it is being ignored.
The elderly have accidents on bike paths because they get startled. Let’s get rid of scooters, racing cyclists and morons on their mobile who startle everyone and learn to communicate when we pass an elderly person so they don’t have accidents as a result of being startled.
(Link: phys.org, Photo of a Schwinn Tailwind Electric Assist bike by Richard Masoner, some rights reserved)
Tags: accidents, elderly, electric bike
A bit of a buffoon at home if we believe the media and quick to call Amsterdam ‘sleazy’ as the Mayor of Amsterdam and King Willem-Alexander were visiting London (which was nice), the Mayor of London Boris Johnson has no qualms about calling upon Dutch business expertise from Amersfoort to build proper bike paths so that cycling in London becomes safe for all road users.
London’s bike paths are found on busy roads and are dangerous, as London Cyclist points out and has filmed during a ride. The goal is to build bike paths in London along quieter roads, parks and the likes, a bit like we do in the Netherlands.
Cycling in major Dutch cities feels quite safe to me, but the zooming scooters, mobile using morons and inattentive tourists make it a bit stressful. However, it’s nothing compared to this video that I find difficult to watch.
And Johnson, the biggest tourist nuisance as of late in Amsterdam are British stag and hen parties. Mayor Eberhard van der Laan invited you to check out how your fellow Brits behave in his ‘sleazy’ city, so what’s the hold up?
(Link: www.z24.nl, Photo of Kruiskerk, Amstelveen by Drooder Fiets)
Tags: Amersfoort, Boris Johnson, british, cycling, London
Sending hundreds of bikes to Syrian refugees in Jordan sounds like a great way to clean up the clutter caused by abandoned bikes in Amsterdam. The idea isn’t new, as the city of Amsterdam said this summer that it wanted to send 10,000 bikes to Jordan. Bikes are useful for transporting large objects and can be converted into many things.
Having tens of thousands of abandoned bikes in a city of some 813,00 inhabitants makes it sound like we grab a bike and leave it on the street every time we go out. The bike depot, a ‘refugee camp for bikes’ that were parked illegally yet often removed incorrectly by the ‘bike police,’ is so far away that people cannot be bothered and just use another bike. It’s not a very green attitude, but it does save time and money.
If the city would just lay off people’s bikes unless they were really abandoned carcasses with no wheels left, that could be a good start. If the city would build more bike racks, that would help considering the current depot system apparently runs at a loss. If that depot wasn’t so ridiculously far away or there were a few smaller ones, that would help. So go ahead, ship a bunch of ‘abandoned’ bikes to Syria (or talk about it for months) instead of fixing the real urban problem, that’s the ticket.
(Links: www.dutchnews.nl, www.parool.nl)
Tags: Amsterdam, bike depot, Jordan, refugees, Syria
Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Bob Schiller has launched Epo bicycles with the hopes of seeing bicycle manufacturing make a come back in the Netherlands. His goal was to design a bike that could be both built and used here. “Even our prime minister uses his bike to get to work. Cycling is part of our culture and it has been for centuries. However, an affordable, contemporary Dutch bicycle disappeared from our streets.”
True, most mass-produced bicycles are manufactured in Asia as labour costs there are lower. Gazelle and Batavus brand bikes are Dutch and there are more, but yes, the fancy new ones are usually expensive designer bikes like Vanmoof or BlackStar Bikes and not the kind you ride to work every day for fear of them being stolen for starters.
It’s a nice idea, but unless labour costs go down, which they won’t, many designer Dutch bikes will continue to be a luxury item.
(Links: www.dezeen.com, www.madpac.nl)
Tags: Batavus, BlackStar Bikes, Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven, Gazelle, Vanmoof
In 2011 we had a story about a Dutch bike path with solar panels to be built in Krommenie, North Holland by SolaRoad in 2012, but apparently construction is happening right now in October 2014.
A straight stretch of 70 metres of bike path is being fitted with a concrete base, topped with a 1 cm thick layer of crystalline silicon solar cells. The solar cells will be protected by a thick, heavy-duty glass surface strong enough to drive a truck over it.
The Netherlands’ 140,000 kilometres of bike paths could be built out of 400 to 500 km2 of solar cells, which would provide a much bigger surface than the total roof surface of all Dutch houses, to give you an idea of future possibilities.
(Link: motherboard.vice.com, Photo: SolaRoad)
Tags: bike paths, solar cells
What do you get when you put several bicycle related companies in one spot? Bigger profits, financial news site Z24 argues.
Earlier this year the Fiets Centrum Nijmegen opened in the old Honig factory (soups, sauces, owned by Heinz), located just outside the city centre behind the central railway station. The shopping centre houses a racing bike store, a design bike store, a recumbent bike store, a bicycle themed gift shop, a bicycle rental, and a coffee house.
Hans van Vugt of Elan Ligfietsen (recumbents) told Z24: “I believe our turnover this year will be 15% to 20% higher than last year’s, and that is without any additional advertising and despite the fact that the demand for incumbents has stayed the same.” He believes the strength of the bicycle mall is that all kinds of related yet non-competing stores can be found in a single place.
Gerard Poels of italmostneverrains.nl attended the opening on 10 May 2014 and liked what he saw. “A feast for the bicycle lover”, he called it. He also noted though that the mall could do more to brand itself. “Currently the outside of the building only shows the logos of the individual companies. I believe that is rather unfortunate.”
See also: It almost never rains in the Netherlands
Tags: bicycle racing, Fiets Centrum Nijmegen, Honig, Nijmegen
Although it’s apparently been around since late 2012, but has just hit the media recently probably due to a social media moment, the Dutch Lopifit is a bicycle powered by a treadmill.
Things like an amateur-looking website and not even a name for its YouTube video could go a long ways in explaining the lack of promo this product has clearly suffered. If you Google ‘treadmill bike’ you’ll find many others, so I wonder how original the Lopifit really is, but hey, we had never heard of it before.
Danish photographer Morten Koldby shot this video of Utrecht over the course of a few weeks in March.
The historic inner city of Utrecht has many traffic calmed streets that are closed to cars but open to cyclists.
(Photo: crop of the video)
A 45-year-old man from Ootmarsum in the province of Twente lost his driving license yesterday after getting caught Segwaying under the influence.
According to the local police a breathalyser test showed that the man had a blood alcohol level of 995 µg/l, which is far above the legal limit. Segways are considered a special type of moped in the Netherlands. They aren’t allowed to go faster than 25 kilometres per hour and driving them doesn’t require a driving license, but the law says that if you get caught operating any type of motor vehicle while under the influence of a certain amount of alcohol, the police may still take your car driving license.
If the man had been caught while riding a bicycle, the police would simply have sent him walking with his driving license still firmly in his wallet. It will be at least 13 days before his license is returned to him, unless the public prosecutor decides the drunk Segway driver is such a menace to society that he must be brought before a judge. In that case, the public prosecutor gets to hold on to the license a little longer.
(Photo by FaceMePls, some rights reserved)
Tags: alcohol, police, Segway, Segways, Twente
On 27 April the Hoge Veluwe National Park in Otterlo, Gelderland will be celebrating 40 years of free-to-use white bikes for visitors, originally suggested by members of the mid-1960s Provos, a Dutch anti-establishment cultural movement whose co-founder passed away in 2009.
The Hoge Veluwe, a three Michelin star tourist attraction and the biggest nature reserve of the country, features 5,400 hectares of green and forest. When cycling through it on your white bike, you may catch a glimpse of animals like deers to rabbits. Also on the grounds of the park is the world-famous Kröller-Müller museum, featuring works by Van Gogh and Picasso indoors and with sculptures and paintings outdoors – a great place to spend the day. There’s also a nature discovery museum for kids and of course, white bikes for kids and even for parents with small children.
At the celebration, five of the white bikes will be painted by artists and auctioned off, and there will also be a photo competition, the winners of which will have their pictures enlarged and placed around the park.
(Link: , Photo of White bikes, Hoge Veluwe by 123_456, some rights reserved)
Tags: Gelderland, hippies, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Provo, Veluwe