Column 5 - The success of the bike
Amsterdam is the number one bike city of the world (Gemeente Amsterdam, 2015). Around 38% of the inhabitants choose on a daily basis for the bike as a transport mean(Gemeente Amsterdam, 2015). A bike is an affordable transport mode that can move quite quickly and its range is ideal to travel from and to every place in Amsterdam. Furthermore, it is a sustainable transport mode: the lifetime of a bike is around 10 years (about equal to the economic lifetime of a petrol car), it produces no emissions during use and it requires relatively less space.
Currently, the success of the bike resulted in a problem. Cycling seems to be a convenient access and egress mode for public transport, especially for trains. So, everyone who is travelling by bike to the station has to park its bike. However, the NS and municipality of Amsterdam failed to respond to this increase of bikers, therefore there are too little bicycle parking facilities. The commuters have to park their bikes next to the dedicated parking spots, which may cause that these bikes end up in the pathway. As this may cause dangerous situations, the bikes are removed by the municipality of Amsterdam and stored in a depot. You have to pay € 15,- to get your bike back.
The shortage of bicycle parking facilities and the removal of the wrong stored bicycles is irritating the bikers. On the other hand, the municipality is annoyed by the fact that so many bikes are parked wrong. According to them, for example, it disturbs the image of the canals. Safety issues are of course also taken into account. Is this the point where Amsterdam is saturated with bikes? Is it possible to handle an increased number of bicycles in the future? Or has the success of the bike reached a maximum?
The municipality of Amsterdam wants to respond to the demand and is planning to build several bicycle parking facilities, especially near Amsterdam Central station. However, they are not able to respond that quick, neither can they fulfil the expected raising demand of bicycle parking spots. So the amount of bikes in Amsterdam is not yet saturated but will probably have a maximum. Inventive solutions could jump into these "windows of opportunities" to keep this sustainable transport mode alive. New initiatives like rental bikes that can be rented and handed-in almost everywhere in the city could be a part of the solution for this problem because of the fact that a bike can be rented by multiple users.
Gemeente Amsterdam. (2015, 01 02). Fiets. Retrieved 01 02, 2015 from Amsterdam: http://www.amsterdam.nl/parkeren-verkeer/fiets/amsterdam-kiest/
Gemeente Amsterdam. (2015, 01 02). Fietsparkeren. Retrieved 01 02, 2015 from Amsterdam: http://www.amsterdam.nl/parkeren-verkeer/fiets/fietsparkeren/