Free bikes for Rotterdam high schoolers in Green party plan

bicycles (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/AgainErick)bicycles (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/AgainErick)

GroenLinks wants to give each high school student in Rotterdam a free bicycle. This is one of 25 measures the party has in its "Bicycle Strategy for Rotterdam", with which GroenLinks wants to make the city the bicycle capital of the Netherlands.

"The municipality takes thousands of bikes off the street every year. That involves wrecks or abandoned bicycles. That last can get a new life after a revamp by the Roteb. They can become good city bikes", GroenLinks council member Arno Bonte said to the Telegraaf. "And we will eliminate the bike surplus in the depot. In addition you give kids the norm that it is good to ride to school by bike. Hopefully later they will keep cycling to work."

According to the party, Rotterdam should become more bicycle friendly. The number of cyclist on an average day has increased from 40 thousand to 70 thousand over the last decade. Other measures in the GroenLinks plan includes safe bike routes to school, focusing more on tackling bicycle theft and more bicycle parking spaces in the city center.

The party also wants to convert two of the four lanes on motorways such as the Coolsingel, Blaak and Maasboulevard to wider bike paths and separate e-lanes. "After the war Rotterdam was built after the American model. The city is full of four-lane highway. The bike is oppressed. Here the car always gets the rein and the cyclist comes off badly", Bonte said.

GroenLinks wants to turn Rotterdam into the cycling capital in the Netherlands within 10 years. The party previously got support from the city council to invest an additional  2 million euros per year into the bicycle. Bonte estimates that realizing all plans in the strategy will need another 3 million euros annually. "But many improvements are not only a matter of extra money, but especially of smarter choices."