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After receiving thousands of complaints from residents, Amsterdam’s local government has decided to ban beer bikes from the city. Unlike regular bicycles, these pedal-powered vehicles seat around ten people and allow passengers to drink beer while they ride.
According to the The Guardian around 6000 Amsterdammers have officially registered complaints about beer bikes over the past few years. Even though they might seem harmless, it has been argued that these vehicles cause traffic problems and encourage anti-social behaviour.
While some beer bike services offer packages for individuals, most are geared towards larger groups and tend to attract hen or stag parties by offering experiences that revolve around heavy drinking. For many locals the bikes epitomise problems associated with mass tourism and reinforce the idea that Amsterdam welcomes rowdy, drunken behaviour.
Their slow, lumbering presence also stalls traffic throughout the city, especially around notoriously crowded areas like the canal belt. The vehicles in question cause problems on larger roads, too, as they often sidle onto bike paths or pavements forcing other road users to navigate around them.
Amsterdammers have complained about the bikes since they started appearing in the city several years ago and managed to convince the government to ban them once before. Although this ban was overturned last year, it was reinstated on 1st November 2017 after a team of judges reviewed the case – which means that beer bikes are now banned from Amsterdam’s city centre.
This isn’t the first time that Amsterdam’s local government has targeted certain businesses in order to address problems related to mass tourism. Earlier this year the city’s council introduced tax regulations that disproportionately effect budget hotels and hostels, then in October suddenly stopped issuing retail licenses to tourist-orientated stores to reduce growth in this sector.