Among Eindhoven schoolchildren, fatbikes, electric bikes with wide tyres, are popular. And the accident last week, in which two schoolchildren were injured on a fatbike, does not change that. However, traffic organisations do criticise the mode of transport.
The status quo
Wide tyres, a two-seater saddle, noiseless and fast. Eindhoven schoolchildren increasingly have fatbikes: “All my friends have them. It’s fun to cruise around together,” says Valentino, a schoolboy. “If I have to bike to school, I’m on the road for an hour. With the fatbike only half an hour,” says Danisha, who is just 14 and already has an electric bike. So for most schoolchildren, it is mostly practical, but it is also definitely ín. “It also has status. It looks modern and is really something of this generation,” says Saar. She doesn’t have a fatbike yet, but wants one.
Yet it is not without risk. Last week, on Thursday afternoon, two Eindhoven schoolchildren on a fatbike were injured after a collision with a car. Several organisations want measures to be put in place for fatbike use. The Cyclists’ Union, for example, proposes a helmet obligation or making licence plates mandatory. “My friends have had bad accidents, but I haven’t,” says Danisha. “You just have to be careful, then it’s just like a scooter,” reasons Saar. But for a scooter you need a driving licence, for a fatbike you don’t. Although they go only 30 kilometres per hour, they are easy to speed up.
Several organisations think electric bikes should therefore be considered mopeds. Since this year, helmets have been compulsory for them, making the electric bike an attractive alternative. Most schoolchildren do not want to wear a helmet. “I don’t think that’s necessary. It doesn’t look good,” thinks student Miga. Danisha also doesn’t like the idea of a helmet: “For the illegal fatbikes I can understand it, but I don’t think it’s necessary for the legal fatbikes.”
Translated by: Anitha Sevugan