Wednesday, 31 March 2010
In a story which sounds implausible, but is actually true, The Fietsberaad reports on a cycle only tunnel in Apeldoorn which detects the sound of mopeds, photographs their number plates and automatically fines the riders. For cyclists, this is much much better than any sort of anti-moped gate.
"This is an approximately 90 metre-long underpass connecting Apeldoorn-Noord and Apeldoorn-Zuid. There are sunken squares on either end of the underpass. The underpass is an integral part of the station environment. The reason for barring mopeds is local authorities’ fear that the large differences in speed may cause dangerous traffic situations. In addition, the resounding mopeds sometimes scare other traffic participants stiff. Moreover, this is an attempt to reduce nuisance for residents on the approach routes. There are plenty of alternatives, anyway. Mopeds may also use the underpasses meant for cars. This is the first time this type of system is employed."
The system is intended to increase social and subjective safety of cyclists.
In general, small mopeds, known as bromfietsen, are allowed to use rural cycle paths but not urban ones. This is actually beneficial to cyclists as it requires that rural cycle paths are designed to accommodate the 45 km/h legal speed of bromfietsen.
Access to paths where they are not allowed is generally not enforced by any kind of infrastructure such as gates. This enforcement using a camera is quite novel.
I wrote before about how, around here at least, I don't find these bromfietsen to be any problem at all. They are not as common here as in some Dutch cities, and they're generally ridden very carefully.
A video showing the tunnel. This was on "blik op de weg" - a TV programme about errant road users. Note how people are pushing their mopeds through the tunnel to avoid being caught: