Second life for children’s bikes

Amsterdam is collecting (children’s) bikes from people who no longer need them, to pass on to children who can put them to good use. In this way, the municipality aims to get more children on a bike. Because Amsterdam is a bike city, and a bike gives children freedom of movement. It is estimated that in the city districts where the bicycle is used the least (North, New West and Southeast) some 6,000 children do not cycle. Because they don’t have a bike, even though they would like to cycle.

Children grow fast, before you know they’ve outgrown that shirt. Or that bike. It’s a shame if a bike rusts away in a bicycle stand or storage box. Amsterdam residents with an unused bike can make an appointment to have it collected by the municipality. The bike gets fixed and gets a second life via the foundation ‘Stichting Leergeld Amsterdam’ with a child between 4 and 18 years who wants to cycle but does not have a bike. Often this is with families who have little to spend. For some years, the foundation ‘Stichting Leergeld Amsterdam’ has donated bikes to young Amsterdammers. In 2021 they donated some 1,000 bikes, but the demand for bikes is higher. The municipality aims to increase the number of donated bikes with 200 to 300, thus giving an incentive for all children to start cycling.

Cycling incentives

The campaign ‘Ready with your bike? Pass it on!’, in which the municipality asks people to hand in old bikes, started in April. The campaign is part of a larger programme giving children and young people an incentive to use a bike more often. Because cycling is a part of Amsterdam, and it is an efficient, clean, and healthy way to get from A to B.
For example, a pilot has been started in cooperation with the national football association to stimulate young sporters to use the bike to go to a training or match. Children are often brought to these events by car. The pilot ‘The New Bicycle’ consists of bicycle lessons for children who are new in Amsterdam and don’t speak Dutch very well. In this way they get acquainted with biking and the bike culture of Amsterdam. As well as that, there is a subsidy available for initiatives that get more people on bikes, in city districts where bikes are used the least.

Quarter of children

In 2020, Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool headlined that a quarter of the children can’t ride a bike. This is most common in families with low income and with children with a migration background. And it is often related to parents who don’t ride a bike, and parents’ fear of traffic accidents, causing children to learn to ride a bike less often than in cases where children have parents who grew up with bikes. The municipality has done in-depth research among target audiences and is now starting several initiatives aimed at stimulating children (and their parents) to start cycling. All initiatives are monitored, the number of children who keep cycling after each initiative is measured.


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