Last round called for the Amsterdam "beer bike?"

Fri Jun 12, 2009 2:20pm EDT
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By Aaron Gray-Block

AMSTERDAM (Reuters Life!) - Although famous for a love of bicycles as the city's preferred transport, Amsterdam officials are starting to draw the line at a popular "beer bike."

The bike, which can seat at least 10 people around a central "bar" as they pedal through the city center, is a frequent sight in the Dutch capital and is said to be popular with stag and hen (bachelor and bachelorette) parties. A non-drinker steers the bike.

But two accidents involving the bikes since the start of April has prompted the city councilor responsible for transport, Hans Gerson, to investigate how many bikes there are and whether they pose a problem.

"This beer bike is completely legal, but he (Gerson) is not very enthusiastic about this idea of people drinking while being amongst traffic," a spokeswoman said.

But she downplayed the possibility of a ban, stressing the alderman is looking into various options.

Ard Karsten, owner of which rents bikes to tourists, said he was open to talks with the council, adding his company only rents a beer bike out with a driver and has never been involved in an accident.

A compromise could involve the council obligating all firms to supply a driver with the bike, he said.

"We're not out on the street en masse and it's simply controllable. It is about fun and teambuilding," Karsten said. "We have a very beautiful route and people simply enjoy it, but some people ruin it for others."   Continued...

<p>Tourists cycle as they drink beer and sing karaoke on a beer bike in Amsterdam June 12, 2009. REUTERS/Robin van Lonkhuijsen/United Photos</p>