The trade assocation RAI and Dutch Cyclists’ Association want speed pedelecs to be allowed to ride on cycling highways and on cycle along roads with intensive and fast-moving car traffic. As of 1 July 2017, all speed pedelecs should go on the road. They will only be allowed on those bike paths on which mopeds are also allowed. In order to tap on the potential of speed pedelecs and to ensure the safety of all cyclists, RAI Association and the Dutch Cyclists’ Assocation call for tailor-made measures, both for cycling highways and for cycle paths.
In the Netherlands, there is a network of approximately 400 kilometres of cycling highways. These are fast and comfortable cycling routes, which connect cities, in order to allow commuters to cycle to work faster. Since the introduction of the speed pedelec, it is possible to cover larger distances faster. Currently, most speed pedelecs are still equipped with a blue license plate for low-performance mopeds, but as of 1 July all speed pedelecs must be registered as mopeds. This will send speed pedelec riders from the cycle path to the road. Also, as a result, some cycling highways, such as the “RijnWaalPad” between Arnhem and Nijmegen and the F35 in Twente, will no longer be accessible to speed pedelecs. “An incomprehensible and unintended effect of the law, affecting more than 10,000 cyclists”, RAI Association chairman Steven van Eijck states. “The speed pedelec has a lot of potential in tackling congestion and is very well suited for commuting. We must maximize this potential rather than obstructing it.”
RAI Association and the Cyclists’s Association want a specific exemption for speed pedelecs on those cycle paths that offer sufficient capacity. Director of the Cyclists’ Association Saskia Kluit says: “Cycling highways in the Netherlands, which are now only accessible for cyclists, are wide and safe enough to allow speed pedelecs as well. The Arnhem-Nijmegen route is a good example. Also within urban areas there are cycle paths along large and busy road roads, which are wide enough. Tailor-made solutions are needed. With a distinct traffic sign, we can grant this exemption per cycle path.”
In cooperation with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment and other interested parties, RAI and the Cyclists’ Association now want to create a map of suitable and unsuitable cycle lanes.
Potential speed pedelec
RAI Association and the Cyclists’ Assocation believe that the speed pedelec has a lot of potential in addressing mobility and environmental issues. “In the Netherlands, 66 percent of all people live within 15 kilometres of their work,” says Saskia Kluit. “An ideal travel distance, because research shows that 43% of travellers consider the bike as an alternative to the car if the working distance is no more than 20 km.”
Van Eijck: “We still do not use the whole cycling potential and as a sector we have to stimulate commuters to swap to bikes. This can only be done if we encourage the purchase and use of bicycles by means of sufficient infrastructure and attractive fiscal arrangements. As a result, more expensive bicycles such as speed pedelecs will become available for an even larger group of cyclists.”