Holland vs Netherlands

Online sightseeing of The Netherlands.

Why the Dutch ride bicycles

Facts:

  • Bicycles AmsterdamThere are 18 million bicycles in The Netherlands. That’s an average of 1.3 bicycle per person. 84% of the Dutch own a bicycle.
  • 17075 km (10609 miles) of bicycle paths and 1909km (1186 miles) of bicycle lanes in The Netherlands.
  • Average speed 15-18 km (9-11 miles) per hour.
  • Estimated is that about 900.000 bicycles get stolen each year.
  • Average distance covered per person daily is 2,5 km/1.6 miles per day and 900 km / 560 miles yearly.

The Netherlands is flat. And with flat I mean that the highest hill is only 323 meters or 1060 feet. That makes it very easy to move around on a bicycle.
In the city it is also faster to get to your destination. Traffic especially in rush hour can be horrible. In big cities bicyclists are 10% faster then cars, in smaller cities 5% faster. Under 3km (1,86 miles) a bicycle is faser on longer distances you are faster by car. Bicyclist often don’t obey the traffic rules and don’t stop for red light, one way streets etc. Riding a bicycle provides a lot of freedom. With a bicycle it is easier to find a parking space and a lot cheaper as well.

For these reasons a lot of people choose the bicycle as way to go to work or school (47%). Other reasons are for (grocery) shopping and errons (12%) or for recreational purposes (41%). Different bicycles are used for transportation or recreation.
Basic, old rusty bicycles are used for transportation. These normally are parked outside in the rain in public areas and are likely to get stolen. Even with 3 locks! A decent working second hand bicycle you can already buy for €50-€80. You probably will spend more on locks!
Fancier bikes, like race- mountain bikes, or with multiple gears etc used for recreational purposes. If you don’t have to you don’t park these on the streets or at train stations and you keep them stored in your shed or in your house.

Watch out for bicycles! Bicycle lanes
Bicyclist feel they are king of the road. And they are not gonna stop for you if you are in their way. So take these precautions in mind:
– bicycle lanes are often painted red with a white bicycle symbol painted on it and a blue traffic sign with a white bicycle indicates this is a bicycle lane. NEVER ever walk on a bicycle lane! Stay on the footpaths next to them.
– Cross the streets at a pedestrian crossings, preferably the ones with traffic lights. When crossing a street without a pedestrian crossing, look left-right-left to see if bicycles or other traffic is coming.
– Do not expect bicyclist to give you way. The rarely do. Nor do they signal which direction they are turning.
– When you hear a bell ringing or shouting, make sure you are on a footpath and not standing on a bicycle lane. Jump to the side immediately.

Is it safe to ride a bicycle in The Netherlands?
Yes! The Netherlands is the safest place to ride a bicycle. Because there are so many people riding bicycles, there is a good, fairly safe infrastructure with bicycle- lanes, -tunnels, – lights etc. Also car drivers are used and very aware of bicycle traffic and take caution. In the Netherlands it is not obligated to wear a helmet. Do realize that Dutch people learn to ride a bicycle when they are around 3-5 years old and often ride a bicycle on a daily or weekly basis. They don’t keep their hands on the steering wheel, have kids on front and back of the bicycle, grocery bags dangling on the steer and text or phone continuously on their cellphone, all while riding their bicycle. If you are not that skilled, please DO wear a protection when renting a bicycle.

Guidelines for safe cycling: iCycle Holland
Or try riding a bicycle at National Park De Hoge Veluwe using the free white bicycles.

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This entry was posted on November 3, 2012 by in Cities, What to do in... and tagged , .
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