Amsterdam Will Use Flowers to Stop Cyclists From Chaining Bikes on Bridges

Biking is more popular than ever in Amsterdam due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

This is a picture on a bridge in the Herengracht canal in Amsterdam.
Photo: George Pachantouris/Getty Images

Amsterdam is like a paradise for bicycle lovers, but the rise in cycling's popularity isn't always perfect.

Cycling has become even more popular in the wake of coronavirus, especially given that people are avoiding public transit and even cars in an effort to stay healthy and help the planet, The Guardian reported.

Traveling by car is quickly becoming a rarity in the municipality (even without the pandemic), and about 37 percent of people who have stated that they are avoiding public transit in the wake of the virus are opting to bicycle everywhere, according to The Guardian. In fact, the UK news outlet reported that there are actually more bikes than people in Amsterdam, which has 767 kilometers (478 miles) of cycling lanes on its streets.

But now the municipality must deal with a new problem: the amount of people chaining their bikes to bridge railings and ruining people's view of the municipality's canals.

According to The Guardian, municipality officials in Amsterdam are now installing wooden flower boxes to crowded bridges as a way to deter cyclists from chaining their bikes to railings. In addition, the municipality will be making more room for bike racks on the street. The bicycles hooked up on bridges aren't just an eyesore, they also force pedestrians to crowd on sidewalks, which is a particular threat to health and safety in the middle of the pandemic, CNN reported.

"Space for pedestrians is important, now more than ever. Due to the large number of parked bicycles on the bridge railings, there is less room on the already narrow sidewalks," said deputy mayor Sharon Dijksma in a statement to CNN. "This creates unsafe situations."

The boxes will be maintained by visitors to drop-in centers (similar to homeless shelters). The flower boxes are not only an eco-friendly way to encourage cyclists to park their bikes somewhere else, they are also a beautiful addition to Amsterdam's gorgeous bridges.

Andrea Romano is a freelance writer in New York City and also happens to be a newbie cyclist. Follow her on Twitter @theandrearomano.

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