Minister bans Stints from public roads after fatal train crash

Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure and Water Management decided to ban the use of Stint electric cargo bikes on public roads, following a fatal train accident involving such bike in Oss in which four children were killed. The ban is effective immediately, she said in a short press conference on Monday evening, RTL Nieuws reports.

The decision to ban Stints on public roads was made based on research that showed that the vehicle could suddenly stop, or could suddenly not brake, she said. The results of the research were released on Monday. 

According to the Minister, the manufacturer made technical changes to the Stints after the vehicle was approved in 2011. The manufacturer should have reported these changes to the Ministry himself. "It must always continue to meet the technical requirement. That responsibility lies with the producer", Van Nieuwenhuizen said. The manufacturer once "asked the ministry something for another device, not for the Stint itself", the Minister said. 

The Inspectorate for Human Environment and Transport advised the manufacturer, Stint Urban Mobility (Stintum), to recall the Stints. But the manufacturer refrained from doing so based on advice from his lawyer, according to the broadcaster.

Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen and State Secretary Tamara van Ark of Social Affairs, and responsible for childcare, informed all childcare organizations about the Stint ban. "I realize that this is a far-reaching decision with great practical consequences for daycare centers, but we all agree that safety must be the main focus", Van Nieuwenhuizen said.

A number of childcare institutions already stopped using the Stint electric cargo bikes after the accident in Oss. But the sudden ban left many others with no way to transport their kids, according to RTL Nieuws. Employees of out of school care De Kleine Wereld in Amsterdam scrambled for an alternative on Tuesday night, director Erik Vlutters said to the broadcaster. "That will be a huge puzzle."

Daycare center Tante Kaatje in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel has one Stint. "Because we are not allowed to use it [Tuesday], we are in immediate trouble. We transport our children to all kinds of things, such as sports clubs. We agreed to that in the contracts with parents. Now we're sitting with our hands in our hair. What are we going to do now? This is an unexpected expense", director Vincent Wolfs said to the broadcaster.

The Columbus Junior childcare institution has 50 locations in the east of the country and used 17 Stints. "We used them for trips during outings to the petting zoo or the supermarket", director Sebastiaan Dekkers said to RTL. He was shocked by the research results. The institution will now use taxis to transport their children. "Our employees are currently arranging taxis."

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