Full bike lanes and cyclists using smartphones in Dutch cities

Cycling during rush hour in the major Dutch cities is dangerous due to many bike lanes being overfull and one in five cyclists using smartphones.

Stichting Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Verkeersveiligheid (Foundation for the Scientific Study of Traffic safety) conducted a recent study in The Hague and Amsterdam, but the results are representative of other large Dutch cities as well.

20 percent of cyclists use smartphones

Researchers installed video cameras around four bike lanes in both cities. Twenty percent of cyclists were observed using their smartphone.

Most were simply listening to music or making a phone call, only about two percent were typing on the screen or cycling with the phone to their ear.

Another example of risky behavior is that five percent of cyclists were observed going the wrong direction down a cycle path.

Majority of cyclists don’t look back

The cameras witnessed accidents that happened due to bikers not looking behind them before beginning to pass a cyclist in front of them.

A whopping 80 percent of cyclists observed didn’t look behind them before initiating a passing manoeuvre.

Widening bike lanes

One way to address the undercapacity of certain bike paths is to make them wider. The director of the foundation, Peter van der Knaap, said it is possible that parking spaces for cars will have to be sacrificed in order to make this possible.

According to the traffic safety foundation, the observations are representative of large Dutch cities, but not the Netherlands as a whole.

Thomas Lundberg


Thomas Lundberg

Born as a Swede in the Netherlands, this life-long expat has spent his time in Belgium, the United States and Amsterdam. He began his professional career as a regional news...

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