In order to meet greenhouse gas emission goals, the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands aggressively promotes electric cars. Amsterdam pays half the cost of plug in electric cars and gives free power to recharge the batteries. They are also considering free parking for electric cars in a city where space for any vehicle comes at a premium.
Amsterdam cyclists, however, predict they will be pushed aside as room is carved from existing facilities to make way for more cars.
The Netherlands breed bicyclists. The narrow streets of Amsterdam siphon legions of upright riders on heavy black bikes to work, pubs and retail stores. Long ribbons of them dominate roadways, passively demanding subservience from their outnumbered counterparts in cars.
Up to now, they have ruled. There are 180,000 parking spots for cars in Amsterdam, compared to 550,000 bicycles. Last year, 38 percent of transportation "movements" in the city were by bicycle, compared to 37 percent by car. In the city center, cyclists reached a critical mass of 55 percent of movements.
"We are afraid. If you add more parking spaces, you get more cars," said Marjolein de Lange, a member of the cycling union Fietsersbond, which is concerned about the electric car program. "We think the cleanest means of transport is the bike."