Should you find yourself in Amsterdam, cycling along the city’s complex latticework of bike paths, be wary along the canals. It is not uncommon for reckless cyclists to accidentally veer into the water. By the city’s estimates, between 12,000 and 15,000 bicycles are dredged out of the canals each year. It would seem that installing some rudimentary barrier or guardrail along all the canals may prevent such wanton loss of property. But such modest precautions seem antithetical to Amsterdam’s spirit—they’re patronizing and nanny-ish in a city where it’s the individual’s duty conduct him- or herself non-moronically, and not the duty of civic leaders to prevent anyone from doing so.
It’s a notion also at work in Amsterdam’s tourist-heavy Centrum
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