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Netherlands considers banning use of mobile phones while cycling

Father of boy killed while using phone on bike has been campaigning for it to be made illegal

Netherlands transport minister Melanie Schultz yesterday told MPs that she was looking into banning the use of mobile phones while cycling. Schultz has previously opposed such a move but now feels that public safety campaigns alone have had insufficient impact on behaviour.

DutchNews.nl reports that according to a spokesperson for the minister, one in three 12-21 year olds use their phones while cycling. Phones were said to have played a part in 20 per cent of accidents involving under-25s.

The Hague bus and tram company HTM has also said that its drivers have to take evasive action at least 40 times a day because cyclists are busy on their phones.

Schultz previously said that a ban would be impossible to enforce, but now seems open to the idea with campaigns alerting people to the dangers apparently having little effect.

The issue has also risen to prominence following campaigning by Michael Kulkens whose 13-year-old son was killed while using a phone on a bike last year. “The woman who killed my son is absolutely blameless and her life has been turned upside down as well,” he said.

Since 2013, it has been illegal for cyclists to use a handheld mobile phone while riding in Austria. Lawbreakers are liable to a fine of €50. Those on bikes are permitted to use a phone via a hands-free kit, as drivers are.

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