Sharing the Bike Path: Bikes and Scooters in Amsterdam (Season 4: Episode 32)

Bikes, bikes, everywhere! But what’s up with the scooters?

We here at Amsterdam Mamas are big fans of biking in Amsterdam. It’s the way most of us get around with our kids and we think it’s one of the more special aspects of family life in the city (though maybe don’t ask us about it in a downpour with a bitter headwind). We also think it can be crazy and stressful, and a little alarming at times. Who thought it would be a good idea to allow scooters in the bike paths and why? And is it just our imagination, or are there really more and more bikes out there every day?

This episode is all about Amsterdam cycling: both the agony and the ecstasy of it. We talk to Henry Cutler, our go-to biking expert, about what makes Amsterdam biking so frustrating (*cough* scooters and tourists *cough*) and what makes it a joy (safety and infrastructure and, of course, babies on bikes!). Henry gives us the low-down on scooters in the bike lanes and explains why that scooter ban we keep hearing about hasn’t ever happened.  

Topics we cover include:

  • Why scooters are the biggest cycling issue in Amsterdam.
  • The surprising way scooters ended up in the bike lanes in the first place.
  • The logistics of changing the law vs enforcing the law.
  • Bicycle safety and whether it is dangerous to bike in Amsterdam.
  • Is it possible to have too many cyclists in the city?
  • The joys of biking as a parent in Amsterdam.
  • What, if any, laws and regulations apply to cycling with kids.
  • The two things every parent should make sure their bike is equipped with.

The one thing we don’t talk about? Helmets. That’s a topic for another day and another episode. We do, however, offer a cute segment in which Katherine and her daughter Olivia attempt to count bikes in Vondelpark and quickly reach the limits of a 3-year-old's counting abilities. We also answer a listener question about bringing a grandparent from outside the EU to live in Amsterdam.

About our guest: Henry Cutler is the founder of WorkCycles and a cycling enthusiast. After moving to the Netherlands from the U.S., he became so enamored with the Dutch approach to cycling that he quit his corporate job and began building and designing bikes. He now sells his bikes, not just to Amsterdammers, but to customers all over the world from the WorkCycles in the Jordaan. You can find out more about Henry and read about all things cycling on his blog Bakfiets En Meer

 

This is the final episode of our fourth season. We have big changes coming up, and we're excited to introduce our new co-host, Nerissa Muijs, and sad to say goodbye to our podcast’s founder, Donna Bardsley. Katherine and Nerissa will be back in August with season five!

Shownotes:

Workcycles

Dutch immigration information

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Image use by permission from WorkCycles. 

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Amsterdam Mamas is a volunteer-run foundation providing information and support to international parents in Amsterdam and the surrounding regions.