A retired lawyer from Amsterdam has lost a court case in which he was seeking to compel the city’s mayor to take action against ‘dickhead’ cyclists who break the law.
Frank Bakker, who lives in the canal belt in the centre of the Dutch capital, brought the action after he received no reply to a letter he sent to acting mayor Jozias van Aartsen complaining about anti-social cyclists.
In his letter, he called on the mayor to order police to take action against riders who break the law, reports DutchNews.nl.
Judges told him that the action should have been directed against the city’s administration, rather than the mayor, but added that even had he done that he would have lost the case
Bakker claimed to have received in excess of 10,000 messages supporting his action.
He outlined some of his grievances against cyclists last month, telling DutchNews.nl: “If I, as a car driver, drive through a red light, then I have to pay a €280 fine.
“But the bicycle who is standing beside you cycles straight through. That just isn’t right.
“I cannot say why it is so bad now – it is the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he continued.
“It is not just about the number of people in the city but that they are not following the rules and I find that unfair.
“In recent years, it has really got a lot worse and there must be an end to it” he insisted.
In the build-up to the case, which has reportedly cost Bakker several thousand euro, the AD newspaper filmed him haranguing cyclists who ignored red traffic lights of rode on the pavement.
Footage showed him standing on a street corner ranting at riders, telling one: “Hey, you’re cycling on the pavement! Dickhead!”
Saskia Kluit, director of the Dutch Cyclists’ Union acknowledged that cyclists should comply with the rules of the road, but said police had higher priorities.
“It is a national sport to moan about the behaviour of cyclists, but this isn’t necessarily the cause of most accidents,” she explained.
“Traffic police also need to deal with speeding motorbikes, drink driving and joyriding, which could have a bigger impact.
“Everybody should stick to the rules, but the impact of a car is far greater than that of a bicycle.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.