‘Four nights in the slammer for no bike lights’


A man who spent four nights in jail after failing to pay a € 40 fine for not having lights on his bike has been given € 345 in compensation. I thought the fine was € 25, but OK, it must have gone up. And having learnt how to drive in Amsterdam, those lights on bikes are very important since there are so many cyclists.

The police discovered the man still owed fines after giving him one. They took him down to a police station, but when a friend came later to pay the fine, the friend was told to go away. That part I do not get at all.

The next day, the man was moved to Almere from wherever he was stopped because it was the weekend and apparently, the police there have a serious 9 to 5 mentality and don’t deal with fines on weekends. A cell mate even offered to pay the fine in cash, but this was not accepted either. I just don’t get it.

I guess the police were out for bad publicity and they got it: the man spent four nights in jail before he was released and the cops had to fork out more money that it was worth, courtesy of the national ombudsman (!).

(Link: www.dutchnews.nl, Photo by Flickr user heliosphan, some rights reserved)


  1. Nick says:

    Could the headline be any more misleading?

    The man did not spend four nights in jail for not having lights on his bicycle. For that crime, he was punished with a €40 fine.

    The man spent four nights in jail for refusing to pay the fine.

  2. Orangemaster says:

    He didn’t refuse to pay the fine per se, the police refuses him trying to get someone to pay the fine.

    I will quote the headline, yes, good one.

  3. Branko Collin says:

    Failing to have lights on your bike is not a crime, but under some circumstances (largely astrological conditions) it can be an offence.

  4. Dirkk says:

    Here’s some info from the detailed report by the Ombudsman:
    The original fine (this was back in 2007, by the way) was 20 euros; later the amount was raised twice because he failed to pay in time (he wasn’t living at the same address anymore so he didn’t receive the notification).
    When his housemate tried to pay the fine at the police station, he was first told there was no-one in jail, then sent to another location, then sent back and then told they couldn’t say if his friend was in jail there because of privacy considerations. When the housemate returned the next day he was told the detainee had been transfered to the Almere jail.
    The fellow detainee was not allowed to lend the man 40 euros because apparently, transactions between detainees are prohibited.

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