Monday, 9 January 2017

Amsterdam has a Cycle Mayor?

Amsterdam used to be bicycle capital of the world, but it's had a hard time struggling against scooters. So it was great news last year that, having had a Night Mayor for many years, we were also going to get a Cycle Mayor.

After a glitzy show at Amsterdam's cultural centre De Zwijger, the new mayor Anna Luten got chosen. I'd like to say elected,  but I fear that doesn't quite cover this farce organised by Cycle Space (which does have a glitzy and noisy website, be warned).
Afterwards, as the city struggled to cope with scooters and tourists and massive overcrowding, it would have been great to have regular contributions from Amsterdam's new Cycle Mayor.

Just one problem.  She was completely invisible. Her Facebook page doesn't have a single posting since she became bicycle mayor. There's also been no sign of any interest in the government's Internet consultation about mopeds from her or Cycle Space. In fact all Cycle Space did was mention it once in passing while saying it was an initiative of Holland's Cyclists' Union. Cycle Space may be good at advertising and getting grants, but they're no good when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of policy and campaigning.

The only news we got about her or from was from articles in the foreign press (for instance CityLab and the Guardianwhere she made sure to advertise  her employer: the Japanese bicycle company Giant and its female counterpart Liv, for whom she just happened to be responsible for marketing.

And now she is upping and leaving in order to start up a similar project in New York. I sincerely hope she is being sent by her employer* and not by the city of Amsterdam.

But fortunately she has found  a suitable replacement, Yvonne van Laarhoven. Yvonne is obviously also a cyclist,  but her Facebook tends to suggest she is prouder of her new car, which conveniently comes from a garage that shares her name.  What a coincidence! 

It really is time for a real Cycle Mayor who represents the cyclists of Amsterdam and not commercial interests - be they of the cycle industry or the motor industry!

(And anyway, Amsterdam already has a Cycle Mayor. Completely unofficial but a lot more active than these two ladies.)

* I gather she has now left Giant. (Thanks, 

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