Cycling in Holland

This video gives an example of how common cycling is in Holland. Apparantely, it was -2 degrees when this video was taken. In the winter months cycle rates can fall to as low as 95% of all children arriving by bike.

School Trip by Bike

School Trip by Bike

When you look at the infrastructure of cycling in Holland it is easy to see why.

Cycle paths are wide, well maintained and numerous.
Cyclists get preference at many lights and paths often go underneath
Plentiful cycle parking. For example, this school in Assen has secondary school has 725 students and 850 cycle parking spaces. (just imagine the space for 850 cars)
Motorists expect cyclists and road planners design city centres with pedestrians and cyclists in mind

Tunnel To avoid road

Tunnel To avoid road and traffic light

Cycling Statistics

  • In the Netherlands 27% of all trips are made by bike, compared to
  • UK 1.3%
  • US 0.9%

The average distance cycled per person is

  • Netherland 2.5 km,
  • UK 0.2Km,
  • US 0.1Km

Women’s Share of Cycling

  • Netherland 55% of all cycle distance travelled by women
  • UK 29%
  • US 25%
  • Australia 21%

Cyclists Injured per 10 million Km

  • US 35
  • UK 6
  • Netherlands 1.4

Why Is Cycling So Popular in Netherlands?

Extensive systems of separate cycling facilities

• Well-maintained, fully integrated paths, lanes and special bicycle streets in cities and surrounding
• Fully coordinated system of colour-coded directional signs for bicyclists
• Off-street short-cuts, such as mid-block connections and passages through dead-ends for cars

Intersection modifications and priority traffic signals

• Advance green lights for cyclists at most intersections
• Advanced cyclist waiting positions (ahead of cars) fed by special bike lanes facilitate safer and
quicker crossings and turns
• Cyclist short-cuts to make right-hand turns before intersections and exemption from red traffic
signals at T-intersections, thus increasing cyclist speed and safety
• Bike paths turn into brightly coloured bike lanes when crossing intersections
• Traffic signals are synchronized at cyclist speeds assuring consecutive green lights for cyclists
(green wave)
• Bollards with flashing lights along bike routes signal cyclists the right speed to reach the next
intersection at a green light

Traffic calming

• Traffic calming of all residential neighbourhoods via speed limit (30 km/hr) and physical
infrastructure deterrents for cars
• Bicycle streets, narrow roads where bikes have absolute priority over cars
• ‘Home Zones’ with 7 km/hr speed limit, where cars must yield to pedestrians and cyclists using
the road

Bike parking

• Large supply of good bike parking throughout the city
• Improved lighting and security of bike parking facilities often featuring guards, video-surveillance
and priority parking for women
Coordination with public transport
• Extensive bike parking at all metro, suburban and regional train stations
• ‘Call a Bike’ programmes: bikes can be rented by cell phone at transit stops, paid for by the minute
and left at any busy intersection in the city
• Bike rentals at most train stations
• Deluxe bike parking garages at some train stations, with video-surveillance, special lighting,
music, repair services and bike rentals
Traffic education and training
• Comprehensive cycling training courses for virtually all school children with test by traffic
• Special cycling training test tracks for children
• Stringent training of motorists to respect pedestrians and cyclists and avoid hitting them
Traffic laws
• Special legal protection for children and elderly cyclists
• Motorists assumed by law to be responsible for almost all crashes with cyclists
• Strict enforcement of cyclist rights by police and courts


10 Responses to Cycling in Holland

  1. Jean September 28, 2010 at 4:26 am #

    Thanks for the summary article and video clip. Great stuff!

  2. Ricom August 1, 2009 at 11:42 pm #

    Nice blog about biking in the netherlands, sums it up quite nice.
    Try getting some good routes from
    completly dutch so i guess you need a dutchie to help you out here, but it has some nice country routes.
    Anyway i’m ridding a old campagnolo every weekend and for a small country that holland is there is a lot to be discovered by bike :)
    Happy biking.

  3. David Hembrow April 3, 2009 at 8:38 pm #

    Thanks for featuring my photos and video. See my blog for more information.

    Gareth, it’s not like Stevenage. I lived in Cambridge before moving over here, and visited several of the new towns in the UK. Not the same at all, I’m afraid. Cyclists still come second there. Not here.

    Subjective and social safety are considered to be important here. I’ve written about this subject before:

  4. Gareth March 27, 2009 at 5:55 pm #

    Undoubtedly we could learn a lot about cycling infrastructure from the Dutch, however I am less sure about the design of the tunnel illustrated. If you were cycling in the opposite direction to the cyclist shown in the photo you would be approaching a blind corner.

    I grew up in Stevenage, one of the few towns in the UK designed from scratch with cyclists in mind. This sort of tunnel is relatively common. While it can be a safe way to cross a dual carriageway, it is frightening at night (who might be lurking around the corner?) and is attractive to those who get pleasure out of smashing bottles in the road.

  5. Ray March 27, 2009 at 2:56 am #

    Thanks so much for pointing us to this website. We can learn a lot from the Dutch about incorporating bicycles into the infrastructure. I’m especially pleased to see it as I am of Dutch ancestry.


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