Home Bicycles A Complete Guide to Bicycle Fines in The Netherlands

A Complete Guide to Bicycle Fines in The Netherlands

by Rafal Sulowski

If you are reading this article you are curious about bicycle fines in the Netherlands or you recently got one. Yes, this actually can happen. Personally I have never been fined while commuting on my dutch bike but I’ve heard from my friends that they had to pay for not following certain rules. So what kind of bicycle fine you can get in the Netherlands?

Among bicycle fines in the Netherlands, there is a fine for cycling under influence, crossing the street on the red light, not giving a right of the way on the Zebra Crossing, not indicating a turn or using a mobile phone. You can also get a fine if you don’t have frontlight, backlight or reflectors.

Cycling is the best, the most convenient and as far my favorite way of transportation. It’s sustainable and my wallet is grateful that I cycle that much. Yesterday I was commuting to work and to the chamber of commerce. I cycled all together 40 km. In this article, you will learn more about bicycle fines in the Netherlands. I will also mention some interesting bike facts and rules.

Fine for Using a Smartphone on Bicycle

From the 1st of July 2019, there is a new law in the Netherlands, prohibiting the usage of a mobile phone while cycling. Those who won’t follow this rule will face a high fine of 95 Euros. For a few years, it’s prohibited to use a phone while driving a car, and because a bike is a main way of transportation in many Dutch cities this new law makes a lot of sense.

Several months passed since the new law went into life. But I still see a lot of people using their mobile without a hand-free kit and police don’t do anything about that. I must admit that sometimes I also use my phone while cycling. I need to get one of these mobile phone bike holders.

Fine for Not Giving a Sign That You Turn

For not indicating that you turn you will pay 35 euros. Informing others of your next move in the traffic is crucial. There are many electrical bicycles, scooters and kick scooters so you don’t even hear them coming. Always give a sign and inform others what you’ll do next. You do it by pointing with your hand in which direction you go.

Fine for Traffic Lights

Cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands is outstanding, and there are even designated bicycle traffic lights. Just like cars and pedestrians, bikers must obey traffic lights.
If you won’t stop on a red light you can get a fine, but to be honest, every day I see someone who cycles on a red light. Sometimes it happens even when the Police is around. I would say it’s all about safety, so if the road is clear, it’s not a big of a deal, but if you force the right of way and a car driver must slow down this can result in a fine.

When visiting Amsterdam don’t follow locals when you see them crossing the street on a red light. That’s so frequent and often dangerous.

Fine for Cycling in the Dark Without Bike Lights

This is the most common reason for getting a fine. Cycling in the night without lights is dangerous. Especially, because there are many roundabouts and you must be visible for car drivers.

If you have no lights at all you can get a pretty high fine. For every missing light, you get a 55 euro fine and for not having reflectors you must pay 35 euros.

Fine for Cycling on Footpath

Very often people cycle on a footpath because they want to take a shortcut. This may result in a fine, yes, you are not allowed to cycle on a footpath when there is a bike lane. In the city center of Amsterdam, you can cycle everywhere and a bicycle has a right of the way. But if there are designated bike paths and you cycle on the footpath you can very easily get a fine.

It’s important to follow such rules because there are so many bikes in the Netherlands and there must be some order. We really don’t want people coming from everywhere on their bikes while we walk on the pathways.

How Much are Bicycle Fines in The Netherlands?

  • Cycling under influence – 100 euros
  • Crossing the street on the Red Light – 95 euros
  • Not giving a right of way on a zebra crossing – 150 euros
  • Using a mobile phone – 95 euros
  • Not indicating a turn – 35 euros
  • Missing Lights – 55 euros each
  • Missing Reflectors – 35 euros

On this website, you can learn more about fines.

Fine for Cycling Without A Helmet

For cycling, without a helmet, you won’t get a fine. This part of a cycling culture in the Netherlands may be surprising for visitors. In many places in the world, a helmet is mandatory. In the Netherlands, even though cycling is very popular, you don’t need a bike helmet. Of course, you can wear it, or you can get one for your kid.

Cycling with 2 Person On 1 Bike

This is also legal and it happens very often. You can give someone a ride on your back seat. Among other interesting rules is that you can listen to music while cycling. Even though I think that’s dangerous because you don’t hear cars, bikes, scooters coming.

Cycling in the Netherlands

If you are interested in cycling fines in the Netherlands you may be also interested in cycling rules – here we put together a list of 14 rules that everyone must know before hitting the city on the bike.

Cycling culture in the Netherlands has been built in the Netherlands over the last few decades. Bicycle infrastructure, rules, business – behind this amazing culture there is a story – here you can learn why bikes are so popular in Holland.

Technical Condition

Are there any requirements when it comes to the technical condition of a bike in the Netherlands? Yes, there are!

  • Bell – It’s mandatory and it must be loud enough so other bikers hear it from the distance of 25 meters. Maybe you won’t be fined for not having a bell, but trust me – it’s just dangerous.
  • Lights – For not having lights you will actually get a fine. That’s the most frequent reason for getting a bicycle fine in the Netherlands. It’s also very unsafe to cycle in the night without lights. The front light must be yellow or white and the backlight is red. It’s also mandatory to have a wheel, pedal, front and back reflectors.

Your Bike Can Be Removed Without Your Permission

There are too many bicycles in the Netherlands and many of them are abandoned. People move to another city, they have an old damaged bike and they don’t feel like repairing it, so they just leave it somewhere. Often the municipality of Amsterdam gets rid of these old abandoned bikes. Often it happens in the area of the city center(next to the Centraal station), but I’ve seen it also in some neighborhoods. They stick a blue sticker on your bike, which says that you have to take your bike. If after a few days bike is still in the same place they just remove it.

The same can happen when your bike is parked out of the bike racks, it’s blocking some entrance or it’s just dangerous.

Bike will be removed || Photo Courtesy of Marjolein Katsma

My Bike Disappeared! What To Do?!

If your bike was removed you can contact the bicycle depot. It’s called Fietsdepot in Dutch. You can call a bike depot and ask if they have your bike 020 334 4522. Depot is open from Monday to Friday, from 08.00 to 18.00. You need to tell them where your bike was parked, what’s the brand, model, color and what the frame number or insurance number. You can find it on a bike receipt.

It’s also highly possible that your bike was stolen. Bike theft is the most common crime in Amsterdam and many Dutch municipalities.

Most Important Bicycle Rules

  1. Stay in Your Line – You should always stick to the right side of the bike lane and never turn without indicating.
  2. Don’t Cycle on the Pavements – If you do that you’ll learn quickly from locals that that’s not allowed. Locals are professionals in calling you some swear words in Dutch when you cycle on path walks.
  3. Turn On The Lights – It the night the most important thing and lack of lights is the most common cause of getting a fine
  4. Give a Sigh To Turn – Inform other of your next move by indicating a turn with your hand
  5. Bikes Have Priority – Bikes have a priority before cars, and what might be surprising also before pedestrians. But take it with some caution, always slow down, because not everyone follows the rules. Don’t force the rules on others but always assume that people have no idea of traffic rules. That’s just a safe approach.
  6. Don’t Use Your Phone – I want to mention this one, as it’s a new rule, and not everyone is aware of that. For using a phone while cycling you’ll get a fine of 95 euros.

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