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Amsterdam gets new "Bicycle Mayor"

Initiative to nominate a cycling champion for the Dutch city was set up by an NGO, that hopes more cities will follow suit

A new “Bicycle Mayor” has been elected for Amsterdam, as part of an initiative by NGO CycleSpace to accelerate the shift from car-centric to human-centric cities.

Anna Luten is the equivalent of a cycling tsar, who will act as a cycling advocate in the city negotiating between cyclists, community groups and city hall.

CycleSpace wants more European cities to have Bicycle Mayors to move cycling into the mainstream, reducing carbon emissions, and improving the lives of citizens.

Video: Rush hour time-lapse at Amsterdam station's new shared space

CycleSpace says a Bicycle Mayor's role is to promote the benefits of cycling, “while being continuously in touch with the innovations that bring about this better future”.

It says: “These Innovations could arise from the worlds of digital technology, public policy, urban planning, architecture, product and service design, communication, wayfinding, and urban planning among others.

“Finally, and of great importance, the Bicycle Mayor will be the voice of the cyclist in the city. How is the life of the city cyclist improving in measurable ways? It is crucial that the Bicycle Mayor is dedicated to this cause and knows how best to work with existing bicycle advocacy groups, political leaders, major project and initiative funders, and the business community.”

You may think the job would be an easy one in one of the world’s cycling capitals, but today what appears to be a “shared space” treatment on a busy road opened in Amsterdam, where cycles and cars will have to share the same space. The so-called “bicycle street” on Sarphatistraat, which has 5,000 vehicles using it per day, has been called a “worrying development” with concerned it could set a precedent. Usually bicycle streets should have no more than 2,500 vehicles per day for people to feel safe sharing with cars.

Individuals are asked to nominate Bicycle Mayors for their cities. Nominees are chosen by online poll. You can make nominations here.

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