Dieter Zetsche on bike at Geneva 2-06Enlarge Photo
Though electric vehicles are arguably a cleaner form of transportation than gasoline powered cars, neither can touch the environmentally friendly nature of bicycles. As the city of Amsterdam is eagerly promoting the use of EVs they have met a tough proponent, the cyclist.
Amsterdam is one of the most bike friendly cities in the world. Recent legislation, infrastructure changes, and other guidelines have been successful at promoting the use of a bicycle city wide. Now, the cities aim is focused on promoting electric cars and this goal does not sit well with the cyclists who feel that promoting cars will limit their bicycle parking spaces, constrain their movements, and eliminate many right of way lanes reserved for cyclist.
Amsterdam is quite unique in the sheer amount of cyclists who travel by bike throughout the city every day. In fact, Amsterdam has 550,000 parking spots reserved for bikes and only 180,000 parking spots dedicated to cars. Some additional numbers show the dominance of the bicycle within the city. According to research conducted by the city, cyclists are responsible for a full 55 percent of all movement within the city center.
With an outlook of having 10,000 EVs on the roads by 2015, and at least four times that number by 2020, cyclists fear that promotion of EVs will greatly diminish the number of cyclists who travel on muscle energy alone.
"We are afraid. If you add more parking spaces, you get more cars," said Marjolein de Lange, a member of the cycling union Fietsersbond, "We think the cleanest means of transport is the bike. Definitely."
Cyclists in Amsterdam definitely have a point. If the bike, one of the most efficient means of transportation available, works for the city, why change anything. Cyclists are not against the promotion of the EV as a mean to replace gasoline vehicles, but they are worried that cyclists will slowly convert to EV owners, thus increasing car usage city wide.