Bjorn Knutzen from Purmerend thinks it’s complete nonsense that you have to wear a helmet on a moped. From January 1, 2023, wearing a helmet will be mandatory and there will be a fine of 100 euros if you fail to do so. “If you just stick to the maximum speed of 25 kilometers per hour, you don’t need a helmet,” says Bjorn.
Bjorn’s moped, a Citta, looks pristine. Perfectly maintained and sleek in the paint. “I only ride it when the weather is nice. I don’t want it to get wet,” says Bjorn, who also has a motorcycle in the shed. “I hardly drive it. I find it much more fun to tour my moped, get off somewhere and walk around.” And according to him you don’t do that “pleasant chug” with a helmet.
According to Bjorn, the moped also owes its popularity to the fact that you do not have to wear a helmet. When helmets became mandatory for mopeds in the 1970s, the moped became a big hit. Because it only goes 25 kilometers per hour.
“And that’s also a great speed with which you can keep an eye on all the other traffic around you”, says Bjorn, “it’s very safe”. The latter is therefore not seen by everyone. Because with the introduction of the helmet requirement for the moped, the government and Safe Traffic Netherlands think it will become safer.
On the roadway
According to Safe Traffic Netherlands, the reason that helmets are being made is because bicycle paths are too busy and in a number of municipalities, such as Amsterdam and Utrecht, moped riders have to use the roadway. Municipalities can decide this themselves. Safe Traffic Netherlands expects more to follow. And so between the cars, the organization considers a helmet a logical obligation.
What really annoys Bjorn is that nothing is said about the electric bicycles. “They usually ride a lot faster, even if they are only allowed to 25. They are also often tuned up, just like mopeds. So the problem is not the helmet, but the speed. And you have to deal with that.” He would therefore be in favor of a speed limit and speed checks on the bicycle path.
Bjorn is not alone in the fight against the introduction of a helmet for the moped. A national petition has now been signed more than 30,000 times. “I hope we can stop the helmet. Because one thing is for sure: I will never wear a helmet when I drive in my life.”