Background to the nuisance caused by fat bikes
The fat bikes with their thick tires are doing well among teenagers and young adults. They often speed past the permitted 25 km/h on the cycle paths, where there is a feeling of insecurity among other users. In fact, they are mopeds in terms of speed, but the driver’s license, helmet, minimum age requirement of 16 years and license plate are missing.
These are all true things Reporting point puts his finger on it in a broadcast on September 1, 2023. Because fat bikes are officially seen as e-bikes, measures would affect all electric bicycles. The bicycles of Van Moof, which was declared bankrupt in 2023, also reach (too) high speeds.
What measures against fat bikes are included in the plan?
Traffic councilor Melanie van der Horst announces in a letter to the Amsterdam city council that the city council is preparing measures against fat bikes. They often drive around in high gear, thanks to illegal software for sale on the Internet. The illegal throttle is a popular attribute, as seen in the aforementioned broadcast. The fat bikes go faster than 25 km/h.
Maximum speed on the cycle path
The councilor is also considering a maximum speed on the cycle path for e-bikes, the plans show. There is now a pilot in the capital for electric bicycles with an automatic speed limit based on their location. But that is still a bit of a distant future, to roll it out more widely.
License plate, inspection and minimum age
A complete license plate registration and inspection for e-bikes is further on the councilor’s wish list. There should also be a minimum age for cycling on an e-bike. This would then have to be laid down in law, which would then require enforcement by the police. But the police capacity for traffic controls is too limited. Boas could also do this bicycle check. The plan does not require a helmet, for fear that fewer people would choose to cycle. You can read in this article that opinions on the introduction of mandatory helmet use are divided.
Fatbikes to the road?
Together with Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague, Van der Horst asked outgoing Minister Mark Harbers (Infrastructure and Water Management) whether fat bikes can be moved to the road. This has already happened with mopeds in several major cities. From December 8, 2023, a maximum speed limit within built-up areas of 30 km/h will apply in Amsterdam for all motorized traffic. So this proposal seems to be easily feasible.
Another problem surrounding fat bikes is insurance. There are already insurers who no longer want to insure them due to the high risk of theft. Many young people drive around without insurance. Who pays the bill for accidents? But that is a completely different topic, albeit not entirely unimportant. In principle, the parents of minor children are legally liable. In the above-mentioned broadcast, Esther van Garderen of the Cyclists’ Union says that the damage can be so great “that you have to sell your house if an uninsured child causes an accident.” She also advocates an awareness campaign.
(Source: Bright, Het Parool, AT5. Photo: MAX)
Major concerns among authorities about accidents involving fat bikes