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Dutch police ask TWITTER to decide whether pavement cyclists should be fined

Local policeman praised for asking community how the law should deal with errant cyclists - but was the result predictable?s

Twitter: love it or loathe it, when the Prime Minister is making major policy announcements on social media it’s probably fair to say it’s part of modern life and here to stay.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that police in the Dutch town of Kampen are using Twitter to crowdsource opinion on whether cyclists found in pedestrian areas should be fined.

According to Expatica, Jean Louis Becker, a local policeman, is using an online Twitter poll to canvas opinion on whether errant cyclists should be fined 55 Euros, or simply warned.


Dutch police twitter poll.png


71 people responded, with a clear majority backing on-the-sport fines.

“The man in the street has spoken,” the policeman told the broadcaster RTL. “This is a great way of involving people more directly in police cases.”

Police in the UK have also been using Twitter as perhaps the furthest reaching arm of the law, to shame both cyclists and motorists who park poorly.

As recently reported, police in Cambridge finally turned their attention from badly parked bikes to poorly parked cars, issuing 11 parking tickets in one street in a week -  after cyclists slammed the police’s Twitter campaign as being misdirected.

The #daftparking Twitter campaign came after cyclists took to social media to shame drivers for parking their vehicles inconsiderately in the city following the police's #badlyparkedbikes campaign.

Sergeant Ian Wood told Cambridge News: "In response to #badlyparkedbike we received a number of photos of seemingly poorly parked vehicles. #daftparking was then devised to facilitate the submission of these types of photos.

"Cambridge police started to use the #daftparking to highlight the issues around parking and to ask road users to park responsibility, and within the law, to help the city traffic flow and prevent accidents and congestion.

"Although the council have primacy for parking issues, the photos will be used to identify areas where parking is problematic, however this is not a substitute for calling 101."

As any user of Twitter knows, there’s always a danger in Tweeting before thinking.

We reported in April how police in London were accused of victim-blaming and branding all cyclist as law-breakers after a picture of a car with a smashed windscreen appeared on Twitter with the caption, “Cyclists: Stop ignoring the rules or you could end up in an incident like this.”


HammFul MPS tweet



The tweet has since been deleted, and police have told they did not mean to cause offence.


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Recumbenteer | 8 years ago

"Dutch police ask TWITTER to decide whether pavement cyclists should be fined"

Aside from the hidden assumptions. This is quite unlike the UK. ​It's the Netherlands. Where there is a vast amount of high-quality dedicated cycling infrastructure, plus a large amount of routes that are virtually free of motor-vehicles - achieved by permeability and preventing motor-vehicle through-traffic. There should be normally no need to cycle on the pedestrian infrastructure, because both types of infrastructure are generally constructed in-parallel.

So, what's the problem with fines?

Disclaimer: I have never been to the Netherlands, so my opinion is based upon reading and videos, not actual experience. So I would naturally defer to those with direct experience. 

Ramz | 8 years ago

Were they crowd sourcing opinions, or were they stimulating public debate?

ron611087 | 8 years ago

Crowd sourcing opinion in this way is the worst way of making decisions. You only reach a select audience, and responses are likely to come only from those with vested interests or strong opinions on the matter. It's not representative of social opinion. Not that it even should be. Public opinion is not the best method of guiding police reponse on road matters. Police response should be a proportionate reponse to what the law defines. 

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