Society -versus- Bikers (in the Netherlands)
|Wednesday, 02 November 2011 10:21|
Like many other countries the number of cars increases in the Netherlands. Being a small country, the most dense one in the world, this results in more and more problems. More traffic jams, more accidents, more aggression. We managed to build over 5000 km of highways in our little country but this seems not enough. Everyone knows something has to change, the reality is relentless. In other words: money rules.
Getting people out of their cars is easier said than done. You need more than one solution. Public transport has to improve, carpooling has to be ‘normal’, flexible office hours, more ‘home-workers’, more tarmac and of course: more people using motorcycles. Some of the solutions require a lot of money that we don’t have. Some of them need a change in opinion. If you like to see more motorcycles on the road you have to make different choices. Cars aren’t the only important things to think about building new roads, rules and regulations. And here we make the mistake.
A few years ago it was possible to pay motorcycle tax for 3 months or more. Lots of people paid their bike tax for 6 or 9 months. Looking for more tax money our government thought: lets change it. We will collect tax money with a minimum of one year. The insurance companies thought: what they do we can do better: it is impossible to insure a motorcycle in the Netherlands for less than one year. Money rules.
Paying a lot more than they used to, the motorcyclists thought they would get something back in return. For example: saver crash barriers. But……. the traffic administration though about new ways to fix things more cost effective: cable barriers. Easy to install and cheap to repair. Again: money rules. But it isn’t very friendly to motorcycle drivers in fact they are worse than our normal crash barriers. And those are already a problem. The WIMA came up with a cheap solution: just install a bottom-board so no one gets stuck underneath them. But…… this idea is still in test phase (for over 6 years now).
Speed bumps. Our ‘new’ weapon. Speed bumps everywhere. Just before a corner they guaranty you won’t round it too fast. But coming from the other side……. they guaranty an extra ‘surprise’. Way more challenging than going knee-down. Because you are already knee-down………
We have more. Do you remember the driving instructor told you: stay away from the white lines? We have green ones too these days. Some roads are divided by a green shoulder. Maintenance is expensive so why not painting a green line on the road creating a kind of artificial divider. Crossing this line with a car isn’t a problem but doing this with a 2-wheeler isn’t a wise thing to do……. Money again. It seems too expensive to come up with decant solutions.
Where do you park your motorcycle? Many of us think you can leave it on the pavement. Seeing a parking ticket after they come back they realise they were wrong. A bike is a motor vehicle you have to park it in a car parking place. In the Netherlands it means you have to pay for it. How to get more money from motorists!
But this is history. At least a part of it. On September 1, 2011 a new law was established: now it is allowed to park on the pavement. The same law tells us you can ‘filter’ through a traffic jam driving a motorcycle. And there is more: starters can use 35kW machines! (instead of 25kW) Wow……..
To be honest I really do think motorcycle drivers become more accepted to be just ordinary road users. More people realise that driving a motorcycle may be one of many necessary solutions to reduce traffic jams. Even our government is getting convinced motorcycles aren’t only for the dare devils amongst us. So they did something no one expected: nowadays it is possible to drive the MP3 from Piaggio with only a legal CAR driving license. Lease companies are very pleased with this new rule. Maybe this decision gives new possibilities to ProHolland motor vacations too. For sure we will invest time and effort in this possibility.
Article source: ProHolland motor vactions