Cyclists in the Netherlands will be banned from using their mobile phones while cycling.
While Dutch people pretty much do everything on their bikes, a new bill in the country has decided that anything but hands-free use will be illegal from 1 July 2019.
The ban follows a law from 2002 making it illegal for drivers of cars and lorries to use their phones, but the new update will apply to every rider, including, tram drivers, cyclists and those using disabled vehicles.
The maximum fine for using a phone while driving is currently £205 (€230).
The country’s transport minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen told newspaper Algemeen Dagblad: ‘This decision sets a clear standard: if you drive a vehicle in traffic, whatever the vehicle, you do not need to hold a mobile electronic device.’
There are more bikes than people in the Netherlands and according to the ministry, phones were involved in 20% of bicycle accident.
Brit Kat Milligan, who lives in Amsterdam and cycles to and from work every day, hit out at the new ban.
She told Metro.co.uk: ‘If you’re good at cycling, like most people here are, cycling with or without a phone doesn’t make much difference.
‘The real problem in Amsterdam is the tourists who walk in the cycle lane and don’t look when they cross the road.’
iAmsterdam.com reports that the chance of being involved in an accident while cycling in the capital is ‘relatively slim’.
The site said in excess of 223 million bike journeys a year – 614,000 a day – only 10 to 20 fatal traffic accidents occur in Amsterdam each year, where 20-30% involve cyclists.
Using a hand held phone while cycling is not illegal in the UK, but you could commit an offence of careless cycling.
Different rules may apply for electrical bikes.