My name is Katelijne Boerma and I was elected as Bicycle Mayor of Amsterdam in November 2017. I am the second Bicycle Mayor of Amsterdam and my focus is on bicycle safety for kids, stimulating cycling in certain communities, and creating ‘bike decency’ among Amsterdam cyclists.
How would you describe your mission?
One of my missions is to make cycling better, safer and more fun for kids in Amsterdam. Amsterdam has come a really long way when it comes to cycling, but there is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to kids and cycling in Amsterdam. Thats why I organized a campaign to elect a Junior Bicycle Mayor. The campaign was in the form of a design challenge. Lotta Crok (8 years old) won the competition and is now the worlds first Junior Bicycle Mayor, and my right hand when it comes to kids and cycling in Amsterdam.
What are the obstacles and challenges you are facing in your city?
One of the obstacles I am facing at the moment, is that while cycling is widely accepted in a large part of society in Amsterdam, there are also (poorer) communities, where cycling is not accepted at all yet. This is something I want to work on. Another challenge in Amsterdam is that, although the infrastructure for cycling is good, cycling for kids isn’t that well thought out yet, which is something I am going to work on with the new Junior Bicycle Mayor: Lotta Crok.
What are your next steps now that you are the Bicycle Mayor?
My next step is to work closely with Lotta, and part of the dutch public transport system (NS) to implement a public transport bicycle for kids. In Holland we have bicycles as part of our public transport system. Lotta came up with the idea to implement child friendly bicycles in the public transport system as well. This is a plan I would love to see coming to life in the coming months.
What can other cities learn from your city?
you should really look at the challenges in your city and start tackling the ones you are facing today, however big they may be. Every city needs its own approach to accelerating cycling progress
I think the main lesson other countries can learn from the Amsterdam program is that every city has its own challenges, and that the Bicycle Mayor & Leaders Program has to be tailored to the city itself. In Amsterdam cycling is extremely normal, and the first steps of implementing cycling have already been taken. This really gives us the luxury, to start focussing on cycling safety for kids, where as other cities should be focussing on cycling infrastructure or safety in general.
Overall, I would say that what other cities can learn from the Amsterdam program is that you should really look at the challenges in your city, and start tackling the ones you are facing today, however big they may be. Every city needs its own approach to accelerating cycling progress.