General information on cycling in the Netherlands
Cycling in the Netherlands is the most popular form of daily transport; using a bicycle for daily needs is fun, convenient and more importantly, (almost) for free!
With more than 18 million bicycles in the Netherlands and 1,2 million new ones sold every year, this country is considered a cyclist’s heaven.
Facts about cycling in the Netherlands
› Cycling for the Dutch is a way of life; it is distributed evenly across all income groups.
› Rates of cycling do not fall considerably with age.
› The Netherlands’ flat terrain is ideal for average cyclists; short-range routes do not really require a high degree of physical fitness.
› The quality of bicycle lanes (Fietspad) is very high throughout the country.
› The best season for long-distance cycling is the period from May till September.
› You can purchase a new bicycle for about 250 to 500 euros or a used one for about 50 to 150 euros.
Cyclists' rights & duties
› Always use the bicycle lanes.
› Follow the same rules as motor vehicle drivers and adhere to traffic lights and signs.
› Signal by putting out your arm when you change direction.
› Always give right of way to busses, trams and taxis.
› Accidents are quite rare; most drivers are cyclists too.
› You are obliged to use safety helmets and wear special cycling outfits only in organised racing competitions.
› Towing a trailer is not forbidden.
Bicycle transportation & storage
› Bicycles can be transferred by plane as checked luggage (20 kilos allowance).
› Bikes are not allowed on Dutch busses and trams.
› If you want to take your bicycle in the train, you need to buy a special ticket before boarding. Also note that:
- There are designated places for the bicycles; usually, at the end of the train.
- It is not possible to transport bicycles during rush hours (before 9am and between 4.30pm - 6pm). This does not apply to weekends (Saturday and Sunday) and summer period (July and August).
- You do not need an extra ticket if your bicycle is packed.
› You can find bike stands to park your bicycle all over the country.
› Most (indoor) bicycle parking lots can hold thousands of bicycles.
Notes on cycling in the Netherlands
› You are expected to keep your bicycle in good condition. However, a fancy bicycle will definitely increase the possibility of theft.
› Do not cycle in busy areas such as stations, squares etc.
› Watch out your wheels not to get stuck in tram rails.
› If your bicycle gets stolen, police will probable do nothing about it. Around 5% of all bicycles in the Netherlands are reported stolen every year!
› Petty crime in the Netherlands is based on bike theft. Ride it or lock it:
- with both an ordinary and a u-shaped lock (factory-installed lock that passes through the rear spokes).
- always to something immovable and solid (tree, fence, pole etc.).
- if possible to a bike stand or at a bicycle parking lot.
› Placing lights (both headlight and tail-light) on your bicycle is always a wise move. They are cheap, you will not have to worry about police tickets, and you lower the possibility of a car accident during night.
› Multiple riders on one bike is not an unusual phenomenon.