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Should mens' bikes with crossbars be banned?

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by: Hans van der Broek
Should mens' bikes with crossbars be banned?

A Dutch safety organization says they are more dangerous, particularly for older riders.

Many have extolled the virtues of Dutch style bikes, with their “sit up” style. James Schwartz once described their virtues: “If I were to describe a typical Dutch-style bicycle with a few adjectives, I would say they are sturdy, comfortable, low maintenance, practical, pragmatic, stylish and heavy.” Apparently there is another reason to love them: they are apparently much safer than men’s bikes with crossbars. Now a Dutch foundation, Veilig Verkeer Nederland (VNN) and TeamAlert, wants to ban men’s bikes with crossbars.

‘As people get older getting on and off the bike isn’t as easy. It’s the moment when most accidents occur, especially on e-bikes, and the consequences of a fall can be very serious for older people,’ VNN spokesperson José de Jong says.
Cycling organization Fietsbond says “the terms men’s bikes and women’s bikes are outdated” and that “gender-neutral bikes are the future we should be focusing on.”

They have a point; nobody complains about Citibikes and other shared bikes being gender-neutral. In fact there is no reason to bring gender into it at all; racing bikes, where every ounce matters, have cross bars because the triangle is the most efficient structural form, and women racers have them. But in the city, a few ounces don’t matter all that much. It’s a design and safety issue, not a gender issue, when it comes right down to it. And thanks to the bike share systems, I don’t think any male rider is actually embarrassed by riding a bike without a crossbar.

I am always nervous about bans when it comes to biking, given how there is so much pressure to ban riding without helmets and no doubt soon bans for riding without high viz vests. But it's interesting that a bike safety organization in the Netherlands, of all places, would suggest that crossbars be banned. What do you think?

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Hans van der Broek, founder Founder and CEO of WhatsOrb, world traveller, entrepreneur and environmental activist. Hans has countless ideas and has set up several businesses in the Netherlands and abroad. He also has an opinion on everything and unlimited thoughts about how to create a better world. He likes hiking and has climbed numerous five-thousanders (mountain summits of at least 5000m or 16,404 feet in elevation)  
Hans van der Broek, founder Founder and CEO of WhatsOrb, world traveller, entrepreneur and environmental activist. Hans has countless ideas and has set up several businesses in the Netherlands and abroad. He also has an opinion on everything and unlimited thoughts about how to create a better world. He likes hiking and has climbed numerous five-thousanders (mountain summits of at least 5000m or 16,404 feet in elevation)  
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