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Old November 8th, 2012, 10:38 PM   #8381
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Are you Dutch? I have asked you a few times, you never answered...
No, I live in The Netherlands after moving here from Italy in late 2009
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Old November 8th, 2012, 10:44 PM   #8382
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So, are you Italian then?
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Old November 9th, 2012, 11:58 AM   #8383
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Some studies have shown that helmets increase bicycle related traffic accidents because cyclists wearing helmets feel safer and take more and greater risks.

While those studies are contestable to some degree, they are also largely irrelevant. You'll never get a Dutchman to wear a helmet when he's cycling. Or ice skating.

Hell, people buy those 35km/h scooters instead of the faster ones just so they won't have to wear a helmet. Anyone who thinks cyclists in this country will realistically wear a helmet is completely out of touch with reality.

The Dutch will either completely ignore a helmet law, or they'll rebel against it.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 12:01 PM   #8384
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The Dutch will either completely ignore a helmet law, or they'll rebel against it.
If you think the Dutch will "rebel" for such a non-important thing, you must consider them very shallow.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 12:15 PM   #8385
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If you think the Dutch will "rebel" for such a non-important thing, you must consider them very shallow.
By rebel, I mean a general unwillingness to comply. I obviously don't mean a revolution. I mean police officers who refuse to write fines or citizens who refuse to pay them.

But the likely scenario is that people would simply ignore it.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 12:28 PM   #8386
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. I mean police officers who refuse to write fines
Can they? In a civilized country, which I think the Netherlands are, officers will be fired if they refuse to enforce a law.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 01:02 PM   #8387
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By rebel, I mean a general unwillingness to comply. I obviously don't mean a revolution. I mean police officers who refuse to write fines or citizens who refuse to pay them.

But the likely scenario is that people would simply ignore it.
Thats why I talked about helmets for underage or under 15. That would not be targeted at general public and could be reasoned emotionally with the parents and police officers, thus it could work. Neverthless there is no politician that would dwell into this unpopular subject anyway.

I don't wear a helmet on bike, but then again I am not the racer. Although I overtook a car or two on a bike in those 30 km zones.... The only sport I use helmet for is skiing.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 01:17 PM   #8388
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Can they? In a civilized country, which I think the Netherlands are, officers will be fired if they refuse to enforce a law.
They can and they do. Usually this happens on the basis of an order from higher up but there are things that a policeman will notice but then choose to look away from.

About a year ago (as I recall), the government introduced legislation banning people from covering up their faces in public. It was popularly known as the burqa ban. The police chief in Amsterdam refused to fine people for wearing burqas in public, he thought it was a silly law that needlessly created friction in society and distracted his officers from more important matters.

Politicians grilled him for it, of course. Police chiefs are not strictly speaking allowed to determine policy on their own. They must follow the law.

But in reality there is room for maneuver. Let's say a police officer pulls you over because you're speeding to the hospital with a wounded person in the passenger seat. Strictly speaking the officer is obliged to give you a fine for speeding. But he won't, will he? There are such things as mitigating circumstances and professional judgment by the officer.

On smaller matters I once saw someone parking and locking their bike right next to a "DO NOT PARK YOUR BIKE HERE" sign. A police officer saw it and walked right by. I can't speak for him but I think he made a judgment call that the bike in question was not hindering anyone in that particular spot (it was just a shop window) and did not pose any danger to anyone, so he let it go.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 01:37 PM   #8389
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slagathor View Post
Some studies have shown that helmets increase bicycle related traffic accidents because cyclists wearing helmets feel safer and take more and greater risks.

While those studies are contestable to some degree, they are also largely irrelevant. You'll never get a Dutchman to wear a helmet when he's cycling. Or ice skating.

Hell, people buy those 35km/h scooters instead of the faster ones just so they won't have to wear a helmet. Anyone who thinks cyclists in this country will realistically wear a helmet is completely out of touch with reality.

The Dutch will either completely ignore a helmet law, or they'll rebel against it.
I could not agree more. The Dutch have the best cycle-way network in the world, and they are the ones who will get out on their bikes the most. And whoever will try and dictate them into wearing helmets: good luck but it will not happen. The English with their ridiculous health and safety laws really take the biscuit, and they look simultaneously ridiculous in Austria when they go on biking holidays, with their helmets AND high-viz yellow jackets...

The Dutch will never ever go down that road!
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Old November 9th, 2012, 01:44 PM   #8390
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They can and they do. Usually this happens on the basis of an order from higher up but there are things that a policeman will notice but then choose to look away from.

About a year ago (as I recall), the government introduced legislation banning people from covering up their faces in public. It was popularly known as the burqa ban. The police chief in Amsterdam refused to fine people for wearing burqas in public, he thought it was a silly law that needlessly created friction in society and distracted his officers from more important matters.

Politicians grilled him for it, of course. Police chiefs are not strictly speaking allowed to determine policy on their own. They must follow the law.

But in reality there is room for maneuver. Let's say a police officer pulls you over because you're speeding to the hospital with a wounded person in the passenger seat. Strictly speaking the officer is obliged to give you a fine for speeding. But he won't, will he? There are such things as mitigating circumstances and professional judgment by the officer.

On smaller matters I once saw someone parking and locking their bike right next to a "DO NOT PARK YOUR BIKE HERE" sign. A police officer saw it and walked right by. I can't speak for him but I think he made a judgment call that the bike in question was not hindering anyone in that particular spot (it was just a shop window) and did not pose any danger to anyone, so he let it go.


Then I think I judged the Netherlands more civilized than they really are.

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The English with their ridiculous health and safety laws really take the biscuit, and they look simultaneously ridiculous in Austria when they go on biking holidays, with their helmets AND high-viz yellow jackets...
Maybe they will sound less ridiculous when they survive and others don't...
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Old November 9th, 2012, 01:48 PM   #8391
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The Austrians die from laughter... When they see Germans with white socks in sandals nearby, then it's time for schnapps and beer...
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Old November 9th, 2012, 01:49 PM   #8392
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Then I think I judged the Netherlands more civilized than they really are.
Only if you think "civilized" is a synonym for "servitude" to whichever uniform happens to cross your path.

Every society needs a healthy dose of live-and-let-live, certainly one as densely populated as the Netherlands. So long as the laisser-faire attitude doesn't extend to matters of corruption and serious crime, civilization is not on the brink of collapse.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 01:56 PM   #8393
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I could not agree more. The Dutch have the best cycle-way network in the world, and they are the ones who will get out on their bikes the most. And whoever will try and dictate them into wearing helmets: good luck but it will not happen. The English with their ridiculous health and safety laws really take the biscuit, and they look simultaneously ridiculous in Austria when they go on biking holidays, with their helmets AND high-viz yellow jackets...

The Dutch will never ever go down that road!
They had a stint with that once in my home town when I was still at high school. Some local official thought it better to introduce a helmet law. Nobody took it seriously. Then at one point he had a police trap set up on a bicycle expressway coming into town from smaller villages. One of those routes that is completely choked with pupils and students every morning.

They fined about 2 or 3 of them. A largely symbolic amount of 5 guilders as I recall. Word quickly spread, oncoming cyclists warned others etc. and what happened next is very telling of the Dutch attitude towards cycling freedom.

At the last bend before the police trap, people got off their bikes and started walking with the bike in hand. Since you're not obliged to wear a helmet when you're walking and walking isn't forbidden on bicycle lanes, the people bid the police officers a hearty good morning as they passed and having rounded the next bend, got back on their bikes and continued their journey.

It was a PR disaster and no local politician ever spoke of helmets ever again.

Mind you this was in 1996 so imagine how it would go in this day and age of cell phones and social media.

On the other end of the spectrum (away from countryside expressways) are bustling cities like Amsterdam. If you're a police officer on foot, a call to halt to a cyclist will get you a friendly wave. If you're a police officer by car, you'll never catch them. Too many alleyways, pedestrian zones...
So the only people capable of stopping a cyclist are police officers on bicycles, of which there are few. Certainly not enough to control the mobs of thousands of cyclists that ride through our cities every day.

Any initiative of the sort is doomed to fail, ruining every political career involved.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 01:59 PM   #8394
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If you ever want to understand this, you will have to go very deep into the Dutch soul. It will be very difficult for outsiders to comprehend that the Dutch are generally law-abiding people, but there is a certain pride that goes beyond that. One of them is dictation of certain regulations concerning safety, in which people are perfectly capable of thinking for themselves. The Netherlands has already become somehow of a nanny-state, but when it comes to Dutch people and bicycles, no outsiders will stand a chance against them.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 02:02 PM   #8395
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Originally Posted by Slagathor View Post
They had a stint with that once in my home town when I was still at high school. Some local official thought it better to introduce a helmet law. Nobody took it seriously. Then at one point he had a police trap set up on a bicycle expressway coming into town from smaller villages. One of those routes that is completely choked with pupils and students every morning.

They fined about 2 or 3 of them. A largely symbolic amount of 5 guilders as I recall. Word quickly spread, oncoming cyclists warned others etc. and what happened next is very telling of the Dutch attitude towards cycling freedom.

At the last bend before the police trap, people got off their bikes and started walking with the bike in hand. Since you're not obliged to wear a helmet when you're walking and walking isn't forbidden on bicycle lanes, the people bid the police officers a hearty good morning as they passed and having rounded the next bend, got back on their bikes and continued their journey.

It was a PR disaster and no local politician ever spoke of helmets ever again.

Mind you this was in 1996 so imagine how it would go in this day and age of cell phones and social media.

On the other end of the spectrum (away from countryside expressways) are bustling cities like Amsterdam. If you're a police officer on foot, a call to halt to a cyclist will get you a friendly wave. If you're a police officer by car, you'll never catch them. Too many alleyways, pedestrian zones...
So the only people capable of stopping a cyclist are police officers on bicycles, of which there are few. Certainly not enough to control the mobs of thousands of cyclists that ride through our cities every day.

Any initiative of the sort is doomed to fail, ruining every political career involved.
Love it! I don't know if I will ever live in the Netherlands again, but hearing stories like these makes me proud to be a bearer of a Dutch passport!
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Old November 9th, 2012, 02:11 PM   #8396
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The English with their ridiculous health and safety laws really take the biscuit, and they look simultaneously ridiculous in Austria when they go on biking holidays, with their helmets AND high-viz yellow jackets...

The Dutch will never ever go down that road!
Are the Dutch motorcyclist in their flashing yellow jackets not looking ridiculous? Its all just matter of getting used to things.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 02:15 PM   #8397
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I will never get used to over-protective health and safety regulations. I am happy to say, that neither do many UK citizens anymore. they are starting to get fed up with this whole thing.

I don't see that many Dutch motorcyclists with flashing yellow jackets...
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Old November 9th, 2012, 02:17 PM   #8398
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Only if you think "civilized" is a synonym for "servitude" to whichever uniform happens to cross your path.

Every society needs a healthy dose of live-and-let-live, certainly one as densely populated as the Netherlands. So long as the laisser-faire attitude doesn't extend to matters of corruption and serious crime, civilization is not on the brink of collapse.
The reason why the police "judgment" may be tolerable is because you might presume it is not corruptible. As long as the police officers judgment follows only the justice reasoning its tolerable, however, once it would follow either personal profit, laziness, or corrupt offers it would be deemed unfit. There are also racial and servitude issues involved when speaking about freedom of police judgment.

What I make of that behavior is that the policemen most often just don't want to be bothered.

Last edited by Surel; November 9th, 2012 at 02:30 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old November 9th, 2012, 02:18 PM   #8399
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I will never get used to over-protective health and safety regulations. I am happy to say, that neither do many UK citizens anymore. they are starting to get fed up with this whole thing.

I don't see that many Dutch motorcyclists with flashing yellow jackets...
Maybe its because you're living in Austria?
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Old November 9th, 2012, 02:22 PM   #8400
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On the other end of the spectrum (away from countryside expressways) are bustling cities like Amsterdam. If you're a police officer on foot, a call to halt to a cyclist will get you a friendly wave. If you're a police officer by car, you'll never catch them. Too many alleyways, pedestrian zones...
So the only people capable of stopping a cyclist are police officers on bicycles, of which there are few. Certainly not enough to control the mobs of thousands of cyclists that ride through our cities every day.
So I did very stupid stopping and letting the Dutch police fine me, TWICE!!... And I wondered why all the others are just passing by...
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