Texting while biking illegal in NL from today

Texting while cycling
Texting while cycling. (Photo: santypan/DepositPhotos)

Starting today, it is illegal in the Netherlands to text while cycling. Those caught using their smartphone while on their bicycle, face a fine of 95 euros.

The ban officially states that it is illegal to use a mobile electronic device while operating a vehicle. It therefore also covers devices that may be invented in the future, as well as other vehicles like cars, scooters, motorcycles, mobility scooters and trams. Those caught using their cell phone while operating a motorized vehicle, face a fine of 240 euros.

The goal of this ban is to increase traffic safety by decreasing distractions - the cause of many accidents on Dutch roads each year. According to police calculations, people who text while they are driving have a 25 times higher risk of having an accident. Last year 288 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents and an estimated 13 thousand were seriously injured.

"The media are mainly talking about a texting ban for cyclists. But it goes further than that. The ban applies to all drivers of vehicles. Yet that specific attention on cyclists is good. They are a vulnerable group on the road. If cyclists collide with something or someone else crashes into them, it often has serious consequences", Egbert-Jan van Hasselt, national infrastructure project manager at the police, said last week.

Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure, which covers traffic, launched a campaign with the slogan  'Keep your phone in your pocket' to make everyone aware of the ban. The campaign is mainly focused on young people, as they are most likely to use their smartphone while on the bike. On average, 49 percent of Dutch use their smartphones while on their bicycles. Among Dutch between the ages of 18 and 24, three quarters said they use their phone while cycling, according to a study by Deloitte in November last year.

 

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