Dutch cycling rules

Rules bike

Dutch cycling rules

Chances are that you will ride a bike when living and working in the Netherlands. Especially since there are more bicycles in the Netherlands than there are people. A stunning 22.7 million bikes can be found across the country versus 17 million people who live here. And there is a good reason for this: a bike is the ideal way of getting around town. It is fairly cheap, reliable and easy to park.

However, many internationals and visitors are still unaware of the rules of the road in the Netherlands. To make sure that cycling remains a safe way to get around, you should get familiar with Dutch cycling rules.

Basic rules

  • Always use the cycle lane! You are not allowed to bike on the pavements. If a cycle lane is absent, cyclists must use the road.
  • While cycling, keep to the right and before turning left or right, use your hand to signal.
  • Cyclists must pass each other on the left; they are allowed to pass other vehicles on the right.
  • Two cyclists are allowed to ride side by side, no more. If cycling side by side hinders traffic, you must cycle in single file.
  • Cyclists must have a working light on the front and back of their bicycle at night.
  • Cyclists are only allowed to transport children under 8 if they are in a safe seat.

Right of way

Many intersections have no signs or markings to indicate right of way. In general, all traffic coming from the right, including other cyclists, has right of way. Otherwise, traffic must give way to vehicles crossing in front of them at the “Give Way” sign or with the white, triangular “shark’s teeth” markings on the road surface. Drivers wishing to turn right are supposed to wait for cyclists to pass them (on their right) before they turn. Cyclists have priority here.

Read more in our section on bikes.