Cycling in 2020: Fewer kilometres dedicated to commuting, more to fun

Cycling in 2020: Fewer kilometres dedicated to commuting, more to fun

According to new research by trade association BOVAG, the average person in the Netherlands cycled significantly fewer kilometres last year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic

The Netherlands cycled fewer kilometres in 2020

While gorgeous weather last summer and the rise in popularity of the staycation may have resulted in more cycling day trips and holidays, the simple fact that people no longer had to commute to work or to drop the children off at school meant that the average person spent a lot less time on two wheels in 2020. 

BOVAG found that last year, the average person aged 12 or older cycled “only” 966 kilometres, compared to 1.112 in 2019 - a 13 percent decrease. A number of reasons have been cited for this significant drop in cycling kilometres; not only were people no longer commuting to work or school, but as the lockdown closed nightclubs, shops and gyms, people generally had fewer places to cycle to. 

Cycling for fun: More day trips and outings 

While 2020 saw a drop in the everyday usage of bicycles, BOVAG observed a 30 percent increase in so-called recreational kilometres. Taking to the bike lane to get a bit of exercise or to go out for some fresh air and sunshine meant that, on average, people cycled 254 kilometres for pleasure compared to 195 kilometres in 2019. 

 Image: BOVAG. BOVAG cycling Netherlands 12020

There are interesting differences between each province: in Zeeland for example, people actually cycled further in 2020 than they did in 2019 (+10,2 percent), whereas Limburg saw the biggest drop (-18,8 percent). In North Holland, Utrecht, Gelderland, Groningen, Overijssel and Drenthe, the average person still cycled at least 1.000 kilometres in 2020.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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