Everyone in Holland knows the yellow patrol cars of the ANWB Wegenwacht. Now, in Amsterdam and Scheveningen, a patrol officer may also come to your rescue by bike. The pilot project appears to be a success.
This summer - while enjoying the sunshine and a sandwich on the beach boulevard of Scheveningen - we were surprised to see the familiar ANWB Wegenwacht logo on a bike trailer stopping next to us. Of course we went up to the patrol officer for a chat.
The patrol officer was happy to show us his e-bike and trailer. They are part of a three-month pilot project that started in August in two locations: the inner city of Amsterdam and Scheveningen. Each location has one fully equipped bike with a rotating team of four patrol officers riding around in a specified area.
The idea behind the pilot project is that in busy urban areas it is often quicker to reach broken down vehicles by bike than by car. It also contributes to a cleaner environment. Holland is not the first country to see the benefits of cycling patrol officers. In cities in Austria and Germany they are already a success.
Bike and equipment
For the pilot project the ANWB has adopted the bike and equipment from their German sister organisation ADAC. The state-of-the-art e-bike from Riese & Müller has a weatherproof tablet on the handlebars for communicating, navigating and handling the administration.
The Aidoo bike trailer contains a first aid kit and a basic set of tools, which in most cases is enough. If not, a patrol car will be called in for assistance. The two waterproof bicycle bags have been added as an afterthought, to give room for essentials such as rain clothing and sandwiches.
Will we be seeing more patrol bikes with a yellow ANWB Wegenwacht trailer in the future? The patrol officer himself is very enthusiastic about the pilot project. He really enjoys being out on the bike all day. He expects that the evaluation of in October will be positive. If this is the case, the patrol bikes will be introduced in more Dutch cities during the cycling season (April to October) of 2017.
There is likely to be some fine tuning. The bike and trailer might be replaced by a cargo bike which is easier to manoeuvre. Also the new uniform which was not decided on in time for the pilot project should be ready by spring.
When a new call came in, our talk with the patrol officer came to an end. He mounted his bike, gave us a quick wave and was off again.