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July 3, 2013

Record number of bikes removed in 2012

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 6:12 pm

Bicycle parking is a serious matter in most major Dutch cities, as bikes parked near busy places like train stations have to be placed in designated areas or else run the risk of getting a fine, just like a car. To avoid ugly clutter, the city of Amsterdam removed a record number of bikes in 2012, some 65,000 ‘wrongly parked’ bikes and bike carcasses. I can sympathise with removing the carcasses, but removing ‘wrongly parked’ bikes implies that there’s not enough bike parking available, something the media writes about all the time.

Unlike cars, which are quickly demonised, bikes are supposed to be good, and dissuading anyone to take their bike instead of public transport would be blasphemous. In 2011, 54,000 bikes were removed and in 2010, 34,000. Since there’s an increase in the use and ownership of bikes, the big cities need more racks, but municipalities are basically ignoring the problem and causing a new one: expensive and tedious bureaucracy for anyone who wants to get their bike back.

In a recent post about recycling bicycle parts, cities remove (steal) bikes under the guise of keeping bicycle parking manageable and keeping the streets clean. The bikes are stored at a depot where rightful owners can retrieve their bikes after paying a ‘fine’. A lot of people don’t bother picking up their bikes and just get another one, putting more bikes out there.

(Link: www.amsterdamfm.nl)

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March 3, 2013

Parking bicycles in the magic rectangle

Filed under: Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 3:01 pm

Yesterday I spotted this rectangle in the centre of Amsterdam which had a lot of bicycles in it and true enough there were two little icons at the corner that suggested it was a designated parking area for bicycles.

I’ve seen these rectangles before, but only next to bicycle racks. In those cases, the rectangles were intended for two-wheeled vehicles that did not fit into the bike racks: mopeds, scooters, cargo bikes, and so on.

To my knowledge the Dutch are allowed to park their bicycles everywhere except where they would hinder access. Cities sometimes interpret this rule as “we can prohibit bicycle parking wherever we desire”, and then get shot down by the courts.

To get back to this rectangle on Rokin in Amsterdam, it is just a suggestion that you park your bike in the box. But the box seems to have magical qualities because people actually do park their bikes within it. The city took a leaf out of the book of design student Roosmarijn Vergouw, whom we wrote about before. (Funny, as I am googling I come across a discussion of her project at Retecool, a popular Dutch blog, where one Swanfeather writes: “She should do this along the construction sites of the new subway. Apparently it makes sense to designate areas for people to park their bikes rather than doing the opposite, i.e. put up a sign that says ‘no bike parking allowed’. The latter doesn’t work.” Rokin is one of those construction sites.)

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