Two Dutch men on mopeds in Geldrop, Noord-Brabant were stopped by the police for drunken behaviour and had to blow into a breathalyser – so far so good, or bad.
However, they were so drunk that they broke the breathalyser. In fact, they were so drunk that dismounting their mopeds was a job in itself. The first one had four and a half times the legal allowed amount of alcohol in his system and was ‘breathing alcohol’. It took 45 minutes for the breathalyser to come back to life and for the one drunken man to give it another blow.
And if being a danger to road users including himself wasn’t bad enough, his driving licence was not valid and his ID card was expired. They will both be appearing in front of a judge soon enough.
Tags: alcohol, moped, Noord-Brabant
A German electric bicycle (aka e-bike), the blueLABEL cruiser (the pic is just a run-of-the-mill Vespa) can reach speeds of up to 45 km/h. Only a handful of them have been sold according to De Volkskrant newspaper, but they are popular, even with a price tag of 3,050 euro.
And although the blueLABEL cruiser is a fully functioning bicycle and looks like one too, Dutch law has problems classifying it as a bike, and apparently should have it down as either a moped (‘snorfiets’) or a scooter (‘bromfiets’) allowed to go up to 45 km/h.
If the blueLABEL cruiser is in fact a scooter, then you’d need a helmet, insurance and a different license plate (a blue one) to ‘drive’ it. If it’s a moped, you’d need yet another license plate (a yellow one). And when it goes over 25 km/h, it has to be driven on the road, not on a bike path.
The clincher is, the blueLABEL cruiser looks just like an ordinary bike, making the cops’ life difficult. In 2017 this type of bike, known as a ‘speed pedelec’ will be considered a scooter, which sounds about right. In the mean time, pricy German stealth bike it is.
Remember the Segway? That was a huge headache as well in the Netherlands.
(Link: www.volkskrant.nl, Photo by Facemepls, some rights reserved)
Tags: blueLABEL cruiser, German, moped, scooter
A couple of months back a reader asked if the growing popularity of mopeds detracted from bicycle infrastructure. I could not answer him back then, but now I can. The Fietsersbond (Cyclists’ Union) reports that the moped type known as ‘snorfiets’ has become a plague on the bike path, mostly because they go much faster than they are allowed.
A limited study held by the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management. concluded that 96% of all ‘snorfietsen’ go faster than their legal limit, averaging 34 km/h (the legal limit being 25 km/h). About 40% of all collisions between mopeds and cyclists are because the former either brake too late or do not keep enough distance.
Traditionally there has been a split between regular mopeds and snorfietsen in the Netherlands. The former were allowed to go 40 km/h, but their drivers had to have insurance, wear helmets, and pass a test. The slower ‘snorfietsen’ were considered bicycles with an assist engine and had a dopey image.
In 1999 the Fietsersbond managed to get the fast moped banished to the main road. Moped drivers had to mix it with the cars instead of the much slower bicycles. Nobody knows why young people started driving the uncool snorfiets. Maybe drivers felt unsafe among much heavier cars or maybe they realised a snorfiets is almost the same amount of fun but without all the rules, maybe something else or a mix. What also may have helped is that manufacturers started producing snorfietsen with that cool, Trevi Fountain scooter look.
The problem according to Thomas Aling of the Utrecht police is that being young and owning engine driven vehicles doesn’t mix very well: “At that age, looking cool is what matters, and the safety of others is unimportant.”
(Source: De Vogelvrije Fietser (PDF), Photo of Solex snorfiets by FaceMePLS, some rights reserved)
Tags: bike paths, moped, snorfiets, traffic