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Amsterdam launches competition for bike safety innovation

Laura Puttkamer
Amsterdam

Amsterdam launches a competition to make bike travel in the city safer. The central theme of the competition is “Different speeds on bicycle paths”.

Amsterdam is one of the leading cities when it comes to bicycle traffic. With different bike lanes for different speeds, the capital of the Netherlands aims to increase cycling safety. (c) Becky Day on Unsplash

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The central theme of the competition is “Different speeds on bicycle paths”. In addition to receiving 2,000 Euros, the winner will have the opportunity to develop the idea further with a maximum budget of 45,000 Euros. Find out more about the competition in Amsterdam Bike City here.

The city of Amsterdam has announced a competition to find solutions for improved bike safety in the Dutch capital. The open challenge targets universities, companies and members who have ideas for how to safely implement “different speeds on bicycle paths”, the challenge’s central theme.

Amsterdam’s Bike City Bicycle Innovation Lab

With this, the city hopes to positively influence the behaviour of road users and bike delivery services. The idea is to work with different bicycle speeds to impact road safety.

The ten best ideas submitted to the Amsterdam Bike City Bicycle Innovation Lab will present their solutions to a jury of cycling experts. As a result the winning project will receive a 2,000 Euro prize, funding for development and support in implementing the plan for Amsterdam’s bikes.

Different modes and different speeds

David Gelauff, Senior Project Manager at Amsterdam’s Department of Traffic and Public Space, told Cities Today: “We are experiencing a very real problem at the moment, the use of our bike paths by all kinds of different modes possessing different kinds of speeds – most notably, electric bikes. Nationwide, we’re seeing a bigger percentage of bike accidents involving e-bikes, particularly among older drivers. We’re not aware of specific statistics showing this in Amsterdam, but it’s something we hear from interviews with bikers, which we do on a yearly basis. It’s starting to keep people from using the bike because they simply feel it’s more dangerous.”

In 2020, a total of 229 cyclists died in the Netherlands. This marks on increase of 24 victims compared to 2019. Furthermore 32 percent of victims were riding an e-bike and almost three quarters of them were older than 60 years.

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Looking for behavioural change

Entries to the Amsterdam Bike Competition will be assessed in terms of relevance, innovation and originality, incitement to action, feasibility and demonstration of a positive impact. The city of Amsterdam and Amsterdam Public Transport established the Amsterdam Bicycle Platform less than a year ago, in March 2021. It serves as a community and as a space for knowledge sharing.

Bike City has announced that the winning project should tackle a recognised problem in Amsterdam’s bike sector with an innovative, original idea. It should also encourage people to change their behaviour. The idea will be tested in the Amsterdam region within a year and, if successful, might be scaled up. The maximum development budget for the winning project will be 45,000 Euros.

Applications are open until February 24th. The winner will likely be announced on April 11th.

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The selection process

The entries for the ideas competition can be very different in size. Amsterdam Bike City accepts both large and small plans from Amsterdam as long as they contribute to a safer traffic situation for cyclists in the region.

The jury will consist of five cycling experts from Amsterdam, coming from the academic field, the traffic safety field, the innovation field and the cycling field. These are the jury members:

  • Marco te Brömmelstroet – Professor Urban Mobility Futures at the University of Amsterdam
  • Ilona Kemps – Project lead start up in Sustainability & Mobility at Start up in Residence
  • Esther van Garderen – Managing director of the Dutch Cyclist’ Union
  • Tim Coronel – Professional racing driver and traffic safety ambassador
  • Otto van Boggelen – Program manager at CROW-Fietsberaad (Dutch knowledge centre for cycling policy)

The jury will judge ten project proposals. A public vote will determine five of them. Entries will take place through public and professional channels such as the Dutch Cycling Embassy, the European Cycling Federation, the Dutch Cyclist Union and CROW-Fietsberaad. An official voting guidance group consisting of municipal employees select the other five proposals.

Ideas for different speeds on Amsterdam’s bike paths wanted

You will find all entries to the contest on the Amsterdam Bike City website. The winner will be showcased in the spotlight. All top ten projects will get exposure via social and other media, a presentation budget, and the opportunity to pitch their idea to a jury of leading professionals.

The winning project will not only receive a price money but also get the opportunity to develop their idea further. The City of Amsterdam and the Transport Authority Amsterdam will work with the winner to develop a plan that expands the winning idea in order to apply it in the city.

Amsterdam is known in the world for its safe, easy and pleasant cycling streets. While the city often serves as an inspiration, it, however, also struggles with traffic safety and behaviour towards and among cyclists. In particular, the increase in bike delivery schemes has led to overcrowding and safety issues on the city’s bike networks. Furthermore, the sales of e-bikes has increased by about a third in 2020 alone, resulting in many faster cyclists. Therefore, different speeds on Amsterdam’s bike paths might be a solution for safety concerns.

With this competition, Amsterdam is supporting the European vision of “Zero serious road casualties in 2050”.

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