Protest against Rijksmuseum bike ban

The Rijksmuseum and its allies seem to succeed in their lobby to ban bicycles from the passage underneath the museum. Cyclists’ organisation Fietsersbond calls on its members to make their objections heard at the Zuid District council meeting on Tuesday 13 September, where the issue will be on the agenda.

When Wim Pijbes, director of the Rijksmuseum, once again suggested last month to ban cyclists from the passage, the opinion page of the Parool filled with angry responses. Among other things, Pijbes wants to use the passage for cultural initiatives.

“Mr. Pijbes, who has never cycled underneath the Rijksmuseum, wants to impose his wishes in collaboration with politicians”, one writer argued. Another thought Pijbes would do better to apologise to the cyclists who have been forced to take a dangerous route around the museum for years due to the museum’s renovation.

On the other hand, Pijbes has the support of the city’s cultural elite, including former minister Hedy d’Ancona, alderwoman Carolien Gehrels (both PvdA), writer Geert Mak and various (former) directors of museums and the Concertgebouw.

The opponents of cycling underneath the museum created the Rijks op het Plein Foundation, which commissioned a study from Delft University. One can imagine that the researchers may have felt slightly uncomfortable, since a prominent official of their univeristy had already publicy taken a stand against cyclists in the passage by signing a manifesto of the Rijks op het Plein Foundation.

Bicycle safety

However this may be, Delft University published a report finding that safety will be compromised if Amsterdammers are once again allowed to cycle underneath the museum. The study paid no attention to the fact that the safety of the cyclists themselves is put at risk when they have to cycle around the museum, for example at the dangerous crossing of the Stadhouderskade.

District Alderman Egbert de Vries (PvdA) wants to make substantial concessions to Pijbes by curbing bicycle traffic. He assures that the safety of cyclists has by now been looked into. How the problem of the dangerous crossing and other problems will be solved is as yet unknown. The new cycling route has not yet been determined.

Photo from Verboden toegang

3 September 2011, 11:11 | |