Speed Pedelec owners have been given a choice of riding on roads or cycle paths in a pilot scheme in the Netherlands
Current laws in the Netherlands stipulate that Speed Pedelecs are not allowed to use cycle paths. However, riders may prefer to use these routes instead of joining a busy or fast road network, or when the cycle path gives a shorter route, or if parents are cycling with their children on the school commute, before continuing to their workplace. The main concern of such use however, would be safety.
Data on Speed Pedelec speeds was compiled by DTV Consultants, commissioned by Tour de Force. The report was published in February this year and included information on Amersfoort and Rotterdam pilot schemes. Owners were able to apply for an exemption, allowing them to use the cycle paths in dense urban areas. The schemes were simple to create and didn’t cause any confrontation. Although faster than regular bikes, early data also showed no greater number of crashes than with regular cyclists. However, there was not enough data to make any conclusions on whether the cycle path option affects road safety for these users.
Allowing Speed Pedelec riders to use roadways and cycle paths seems sensible. The high speed of such bikes means they can compete with vehicles on road networks, and appeal over long distances, in hopes of encouraging new users and aiding health and the environment. National agreements and regulations on road use by the Speed Pedelec are advocated for by Tour de Force. Until wider research is completed, they suggest that users in those pilot regions should be given the opportunity to ride on local cycle paths.
Following completion of the aforementioned pilot schemes, a new, much larger trial is planned in Utrecht.