From 1 July 2019 it will be illegal in Holland to hold or operate a mobile phone - or any other mobile electronic device - while riding a bike. Cyclists who fail to comply with this new law risk a 95-euro fine.
Cycling while talking to a friend on a mobile phone or sending an app. Holding a phone in both hands and looking at the screen while riding a bike in busy traffic. In recent years it's become an all too common a sight on the Dutch cycle paths. According to statistics, 49% of cyclists use their phone on their bike. Among 18 to 24-year-olds phone use is even higher: 75%.
Holding a phone while driving a vehicle was already made illegal in 2002. Since then there has been much discussion as to whether this law should also apply to cyclists. As we reported back in 2018, scientists found it hard to prove there was a direct link between accidents and phone use on the bike. So are there reasonable grounds to forbid phone use on the bike?
Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Van Nieuwenhuizen thinks there are: "On the road accidents are just waiting to happen. Even on a bike something can happen in just a split second. Therefore it is also important for cyclists and other road users to keep their eyes on the traffic and not on the screen of their mobile phone. We often think we can multitask, but we can't. The message is clear: if you're out on the road, you keep your eyes on the traffic."
To make cycling safer and reduce the number of road traffic victims, from 1 July 2019 it will be illegal to hold or operate a mobile phone - or any other mobile electronic device - while riding a bike. Cyclists who fail to comply with this new law risk a 95-euro fine.
Don't get caught out
So what does this mean for you as a cyclist? How can you make sure you don't get caught out? Here are some does and don'ts:
- The new law applies to all cyclists who are riding a bike. So if you want to operate your mobile phone or any other mobile electronic device just stop for a moment. It's ok to use your device while waiting at traffic lights.
- The new law applies to mobile phones and other mobile electronic devices. Please beware, this also means your tablet, GPS, camera, MP3 player etc.
- The new law applies to holding or operating your device. So if you want to use your navigation, take pictures or make a video while you are riding, make sure you use a holder on your handle bars or helmet. Just don't press any buttons while you're riding!