Who is the Lord of the bike lanes? I ask this question because the number of accidents on bike lanes leading to serious injuries has increased by a third in the past 10 years. As someone who regularly cycles 20 kilometers a day in Amsterdam, on an old fashioned hybrid city bike I’ve drawn my own conclusions about which of the many bike lane using vehicles is the one to rule them all?
The area gentrifying bakfiets moeder
As it says in Het boek De Normen en Waarden van Nederland van Henk en Ingrid uit het witte dorp.
“Blessed are the bakfiets moeders, they are the modern missionaries civilising previously ethnically diverse neighbourhoods with the wisdom, norms and values they learnt at gymnasiums, uni and most importantly from the sorority. If in moving to such neighbourhoods, the price of owning property in the area becomes unaffordable, that’s fine, they can always blame expats for the ensuing price increases.”
The bakfiets moeders zoom along the bike lanes at terrifying speeds on their electric bakfiets, taking up as much room as possible. They can often be heard in conversation with the nanny/home help asking them to start sprinkling the hagelslag/vlokken on the famously flavourless Dutch bread as Boudewijn and Merel will be home soon.
Not all antisocial pains in the buttocks drive biros, but all biros that you see driven (illegally) on bike lanes are driven by antisocial morons. Since 2019 it’s been illegal to drive those annoying vehicles on bike lanes. Do the Biro drivers care about that? Not at all. As they know that there’s more of a chance of a black man becoming the next leader of the PVV than being caught by the police, they really don’t give a stroopwafel! Dangerous and irritant! But definitely not the Lord of the Bike Lanes.
The solution finding child
Diederik is definitely not spoilt. But cycling from his home in Amsterdam Zuid to school less than two kilometers away was simply taking too long. The solution? A two thousand euros Van Moof electric bike. Did it save him anytime at all? Hell no! Because after he got a Van Moof, so did Boudewijn, Merel, Anne Sophie and Fleur. Now they all cycle incredibly slowly on their electric bikes side by bloody side. Yacking away with not a care in the world. As I attempt to overtake them I often think to myself. “There goes the future leaders of the Netherlands. White, privileged and blissfully unaware of anything going on outside their own bubble. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.
The 10-minute gratification deliverers
Diederik, Boudewijn, Merel and AnnaSophie are now at Uni and are sharing an apartment owned by one of their parents. Naturally, no internationals are allowed to share the apartment, it’s not up to them but the owner. It’s conveniently located above a supermarket, but why go through the hassle of going downstairs, mixing with the great unwashed and all the hassle of carrying one’s own shopping up two flights of stairs when you can simply use one of the 10-minute almost instant gratification services to deliver Pringles, beer, quinoa, veggie burgers, glijmiddel and condoms to your door? Lekker makkelijk!
From the dark stores that have spread rapidly throughout the Netherlands like stolen goods on Marktplaats, the couriers of Flink, Getir, Zapp and Gorillas are Max Verstappen clones pushing their electric delivery cargo bikes to the limit. Who cares if they decapitate the occasional cyclist going far too slowly along a bike lane? So what if they put a pedestrian who dared to step onto a pedestrian crossing and not wait for the gratification Grand Prix rider to go past? Boudewijn needs his Pringles now!
The rapid delivery terrorists, sorry delivery riders are under pressure to deliver within 10 minutes. They are monitored by the wonder of modern technology more closely than a category 1 prisoner in a high-security prison. They have to deliver your essential Red Bull, crisps and Vodka as soon as possible. Speed, speed and more speed are required. I’m not a religious man, but every time one of their delivery riders whizzes past to deliver groceries that MUST arrive within 10 minutes I make a thankful silent prayer that I survived again.
The flitsbezorgers are without doubt the new Lords of the Bike Lanes. No doubt about it. Perhaps the government should just give them their own reserved bike lane. A bit like a bus lane. Call it the ‘supplies for impatient people lane’. Problem solved.
Sadly, in Amsterdam, the courts have ruled that the so-called dark stores. The distribution centers that feed the high-speed beasts have to move out of the residential neighbourhoods of Amsterdam due to the ‘overlast’/disruption they bring to the residents. So they may well be the Lord of the bike lanes for now, but that will soon change.
No pedestrians were hurt during the writing of this post.
Until next time. “If you don’t like it here…..” 😉
You forgot the newish menace the electric fatbikes- commonly ridden by wannabe hipsters and scooter boys dressed in Gucci who are to scared to ride on the road or too vain to wear a kut helmet. They sneak along the fietspad making a whirring noise at great speed eyes fixed forward, knowing that lopers en fietsers think they are coplete wallies. At least you can hear the mummies boys on their scooters tooting thier hooters constantly.
Me, as an avid pedestrian all my life, feel like there would be some room for dedicacted ‘supplies for impatient people lane’. Some sidewalks for 2 legged, walking peasants are as wide as 5 centimeters between house walls and bikelanes. We could give up some for the good cause