Dutch could forbid bike riders from using mobile phones

Wind knocks over bikes in Amsterdam
Heavy winds caused bikes to topple over in Amsterdam Centrum. January 3, 2018.photo: Zack Newmark / NL Times

A new political proposal could ban bike riders in the Netherlands from using their mobile phones. The law change was prepared by Cora van Nieuwenhuizen-Wijbenga, the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, with consultation from the Security and Justice Ministry, according to a letter she sent to the chair of the Dutch lower house of Parliament.

In the letter dated today, she said the proposal would amend existing traffic laws to make it "forbidden to hold a mobile electronic device while driving all vehicles (including the bicycle)." Van Nieuwenhuizen says this will update traffic code to be more future-proof by including all vehicles and all mobile devices.

"If you drive a vehicle in traffic, whatever the vehicle, you do not need to hold a mobile electronic device," she wrote.

Currently, the law only states that "mobile phones" are forbidden from being held by drivers of "motorized vehicles", including scooters, mopeds, and some transport used by people with disabilities. Drivers who are ticketed for the offense face a €230 fine, but they are not to be cited if their vehicle is parked.

Van Nieuwenhuizen wants the law change to take effect as quickly as possible. Analysts say that would likely be July 1.