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Amsterdam flowers bikes
Flower power to bust locked bikes

Amsterdam is to deploy flower power against the plague of bicycles being locked up to its picturesque canals.

The city simply has too many bikes for the number of parking spots available to lock them up.

The city's canals, with their elaborate wrought iron fences, have proved too attractive for riders hunting for a convenient spot to secure their machines, most of which look as though they might even date from the bike iron age.

And some have definitely been locked to the same spot for... well... ages.

However the practice is now being frowned upon by the authorities, who hope to improve access to the public to the areas around the canals.

The waterways have become a major tourist attraction in the city and a favoured selfie spot.

The bikes are spoiling the view.

The city council has opted for planter boxes and flower baskets on the busiest canal bridges to make it more difficult to secure a bike to the railings.

“Due to the large number of bicycles parked at the bridge railings, pedestrians no longer fit on the narrow sidewalks and walk on the roadway”, a spokesman said.

To create extra space for bike parking elsewhere, car parking spots will give way to more bike parking rails.

It has been reported that Amsterdam has more bikes than people with 767km of bike lanes.

The average distance covered by bike had increased from 3.4km in September 2019 to 4.1km in July of this year because of the COVID impact.

Thirty-seven percent of those avoiding public transport because of COVID-19 were jumping on their bicycle. About half of those said they would continue using the bike more when coronavirus restrictions were finally lifted.

The travellers association, the Algemene Nederlandse Wielrijders-Bond (ANWB), has called for an improvement of safety standards around crowded Dutch bike lanes.

Frits van Bruggen, ANWB’s director, said: “Before the coronavirus crisis, we already had full cycle paths and more and more two-wheelers at different speeds.

“E-bikes, e-scooters, bicycles, electric cargo bikes also in electric, racing bike —  not all of them can ride side by side."

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.

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