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7/2 Spreading tourism proceeds with difficulty

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6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

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20/1 Cleaners welcome new Schiphol director

18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

17/1 PvdA Oost against fewer districts

16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

15/1 Bait bike leads to arrest

14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

13/1 New Youth for Christ contoversy

11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

9/1 Supermarket coupon fraud thwarted

9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

7/1 Snow

7/1 Fatima Elatik to run Zeeburg

7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

1/1 Thousands to protest against attacks on Gaza

1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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Addicts to fight bicycle theft

20 June 2007 - The Infrastructure and Traffic Department (dIVV) is working on a programme in which drug addicts and ex-convicts carry out street surveillance to reduce bicycle theft. This was announced by the municipality after the publication of the new bicycle plan.

“London, Paris, Barcelona, Rome and many other foreign cities are jealous of our large numbers of cyclists”, said Alderman Tjeerd Herrema. The municipality wants the bicycle to retain its popularity, for it is good for the city’s accessibility, liveability and air quality.

This week, the municipality therefore published its multi-year bicycle plan. Bicycle connections must improve, the number of places to park a bicycle will increase, cycling must become safer and the image of cycling must improve.

Bicycle theft. Through the AFAC, a terrain where found and removed bicycles are collected and registered, the city tries to reduce bicycle theft. This approach has been copied by a number of other cities.

In addition, bicycle shops are regularly inspected, people who offer bicycles for sale on the internet are investigated and street surveillance is carried out. In order to reduce the cost of surveillance, a plan is being developed to use drug addicts and ex-convicts. The programme should help their return to society.

Bicycle accident-prone? The bicycle seems to be a relatively safe mode of transportation. Cyclists make up 25 to 33% of accident victims, while bicycles are used in 37% of trips. “It remains a vulnerable group and every accident is one too many”, responds Johanneke Helmer of the dIVV. Every year, five cyclists are killed in traffic accidents in Amsterdam, and hundreds are injured.

That is of course to some extend their own fault, given how recklessly many jump the lights. At least, that is the general impression. In fact, ten percent of bicycle accidents are caused by jumping the lights. In addition, five percent are caused by cyclists riding in the wrong direction or on tram tracks.

More often, accidents are caused by cars: cars turning left or right without giving way (15%), opening car doors (7%) and problems with parking cars (10%). This autumn, the municipality will present a plan to improve traffic safety.

Phased traffic lights. Traffic lights in Amsterdam are ten times more bicycle-friendly than in Rotterdam, but there is room for improvement. The municipality wants traffic lights to respond better to approaching bicycles and to provide better information on waiting times to cyclists.

In addition, there will be experiments introducing phased traffic lights for cyclists and displays indicating how fast one should ride to arrive at a green traffic light. If the experiments prove successful, the measures will be introduced at a larger scale.

Cycling courses. In March, a study by cyclists’ organisation Fietsersbond revealed that there are still waiting lists for cycling courses in most districts. There is no mention of this topic in the Bicycle Plan, but the issue is being addressed, Helmer said.

For example, there has recently been a project at the Calvijn College in west. A problem is that it is difficult to find enough volunteers to offer the courses. Helmer: “You should not underestimate this: not anyone can give such courses”.

Molly Moore of the Washington Post recently visited the bicycle flat at the Central Station to report on bicycle parking. The article appeared in numerous American newspapers.


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