Known as the cycling capital of the world, Amsterdam tends to lead the way on best practices when it comes to bikes and transportation.
According to Road.cc, two thirds of daily transportation trips in the city are by bike. And nearly half of bike sales in the city are e-bikes. Meaning, e-bikes are abundant and constantly interacting with regular bikes and pedestrians.
Amsterdam considering a reduction in their e-bike speed limit
The new e-bike speed limit, proposed by city officials, would be 20 km/h (12 mph) while on cycleways and bike paths. Essentially, the speed limit would apply within city limits everywhere but on roads shared with cars.
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Dutch News reported that Amsterdam’s transport chief Melanie van der Horst sent a letter to city council explaining that e-bikes can often travel faster than 30 km/h, which endangers children and elderly cyclists.
Van der Horst also pointed to a 2021 survey indicating that 70 percent of people in Amsterdam were concerned about traffic safety. The speed of e-bikes and scooters was a primary reason for their feeling of insecurity in traffic, according to Road.cc.
“The growth of electric vehicles means there are huge speed differences on bike lanes and studies show that this creates risks,” said Van der Horst. It’s much safer when everyone is traveling at about the same speed, rather than some going extremely fast and others going extremely slow.
There’s an app for that
One way to combat higher speeds is with “intelligent speed adaptation.” Cyclists would be warned of reduced speed limits through an app. The app would let cyclists know that if they would like to continue at higher speeds they have to take the road instead of the bike path. Many e-bike manufacturers are also limiting speeds through software.
And even on Amsterdam roads, speeds are being reduced for all vehicles. According to Dutch News, the capital city has proposed a reduction in speed limits, capping all roads within the city at 30 km/h (18 mph).