The streets in the Netherlands are taken over by bicycles. Have you ever wondered how many bicycles are there in Amsterdam? There are 23 million bicycles in the Netherlands… Is It True? Yes, it is, and this huge number of bicycles belong to 17 million people. But what about Amsterdam? How many bicycles are there in Amsterdam?
There are around 847 000 bikes in Amsterdam that belong to 442.693 households. There are four times more bicycles than cars in Amsterdam. 80% of Amsterdammers own a bike and almost 60% use their bikes on a daily basis. In the whole Netherlands, there are 23 000 000 bikes.
In this article, not only will I elaborate on the number of bikes in Amsterdam, but also, I’ll feed you with some handy information about the bike network in the city. I will give you some interesting facts about cycling in the biking heart of Europe.
How Many Bicycles Are There In Amsterdam?
The number of bikes changes all the time but according to the last research from 2016, there are around 847 000 bikes in Amsterdam. I believe that now it’s even more because every year there are more people coming to Amsterdam!
- 78% of Amsterdammers own a bike
- 57% use their bike on a daily basis, even in the winter
- It is worth mentioning that this is four times the number of cars
- Statistically, each resident of Amsterdam owns at least 1.5 bikes
- Omafjets is the most popular type of bike in Amsterdam
- 35% of trips daily in Amsterdam are by bike
- Bikes are often the main mean of transport in Amsterdam
- Cyclists bike even two million kilometers each day
In this article, you can find more interesting facts about bikes in Amsterdam.
Let’s get into some numbers about bikes in Holland:
- In the Netherlands, more than 25% of daily trips are traveled by bike
- The Netherlands is the only country (in the whole world) where the number of bicycles is higher than the number of people living in.
- Number of trips by bike in the Netherlands reached over 4.5 billion in 2016 with a total distance of 15.5 billion kilometers
- There are 17 million people and 23 million bicycles
- 2 million bicycles out of 23 million are e-bikes
- The average number of bikes per capita is 1.3 and per household – 1.9
- An average Dutch covers a distance of 35 kilometers a day, around half of them by car. The rest is often covered by bike.
More Cycling Facts you can find in the file created by Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis | KiM
Bicycle Network in Amsterdam
In most cities, the network of bicycle tracks is much sparser than its vehicular equivalent. When you look at the map of Amsterdam you’ll notice that the street network map is the bike network map. Infrastructure is so well organized that there is a cycling path along almost every street in Amsterdam. In most cases when there are no bike lanes you can cycle on the street. It’s forbidden only when there is a prohibitory traffic sign.
Cycling has been always a part of Dutch culture, but it really became popular in the Netherlands in the 1920s. At the moment this is the most popular mean of transport in the city. There is an interesting story about the rising popularity of bikes in Amsterdam. You can read it here.
You could ask whether the City of Amsterdam supports such an increase in the number of bikes. Sure it does. Amsterdam has been investing in bikes for many decades so that biking could become the safest and the most appealing option for people who want to go through the city as fast as possible. By investing I mean creating cycle paths, cycle traffic lights, new routes, bicycle parking, and red asphalt. One of the struggles the City has to face is the problem of abandoned bicycles.
WHY IS CYCLING SO POPULAR IN AMSTERDAM?
Let’s start with the fact that cycling is a fundamental part of Dutch culture. Amsterdam is like the best proof of it – every day the Amsterdammers together cover a distance of 2.2 million kilometers by bike. Cycling is equally popular amongst women and men. Also, the elderly use bikes for recreation and shopping. Children cycle to school on a daily basis. There are five key reasons why Amsterdam is a city of bikes:
- All streets are bike streets
In most countries (and cities) the network of vehicular routes is much better-developed than the bike one. In Amsterdam literally, all the streets are suitable for safe biking. Even those with no bicycle infrastructure. Every Amsterdam street is a bike street. To be honest, it’s much more difficult to get from point A to point B by car. I am not trying to say that there’s no point in owning a car in Amsterdam. It’s just cars that are not able to get to every place in the city so easily. There are some places in the city where you can’t get by car.
- Car-free spaces
The amazing fact about Amsterdam is that more and more routes have been recently recreated so that they kind of ignore car traffic (like the famous Plantage Middenlaan). It happens that streets that used to have tram tracks, road lanes, pavements, and bicycle routes now are closed for car traffic.
- Different speed limits
There are two-speed limits in Amsterdam. Those are 30 and 50 kilometers per hour. Besides, there are some infrastructure solutions designed to make you drive slower – speed bumps or bottlenecks. This makes cycling even safer. At the same time, this is a reason for Amsterdam’s low mortality in car accidents.
- Well-designed intersections
Each Amsterdam’s intersection is well-planned in order to keep cyclists safe. You can be 100% sure that it’s possible to go through each intersection by bike safely and conveniently. I drive my car a lot and I always keep in mind that someone who cycles may have no ideas about traffic rules so I often forget cyclists’ mistakes and I just let them go before I drive.
- Separate routes for cyclists
Most of the fast roads in Amsterdam have separate routes designed for bikes only. This definitely makes the level of safety higher and at the same time encourages elderly people or families with children to use bikes on a daily basis.
There are obviously more reasons why cycling is so popular in Amsterdam. I have focused on the most objective ones but, among the others, do not forget that cycling is also good for your health and… cheap.
AMSTERDAM’S CYCLING CULTURE
It’s not a secret that Amsterdam has been ranked as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the whole world. To me, it sounds like an easy choice – just look at the amazingly well- developed infrastructure – there are so many paths, signs and traffic lights designated for cyclists exclusively. It’s also worth mentioning that Amsterdam has one of the lowest bike accident rates. You can literally access the whole of Amsterdam by bike. The total length of cycle paths throughout the city is around 600 kilometers. Most of them are located alongside roads with a 50 km/h speed limit and thoroughfares. If a maximum speed limit of 30 km/h applies, there’s no requirement to build separate cycle paths. This means bikes and cars need to coexist.
- Everyone cycles
What I like in Amsterdam’s city cycling is that you will see every type of person cycling here. Riding a bike is so popular here that no one is surprised when seeing elderly people, kids, business people or parents with their children biking. Very often you’ll see couples holding hands, people making phone calls or holding an umbrella on a bike. Foreign visitors are often surprised that Amsterdammers do not use helmets. At all. But it’s not weird – city cycling in Amsterdam is very safe thanks to segregated bike lanes (those are usually reddish-colored paths). And, let’s be honest, neither are helmets cool nor trendy.
- How to get a bike in Amsterdam?
You might be wondering how to get a bike in Amsterdam if you are a visitor or tourist. For sure, you shouldn’t buy a 30Euro bike on the street. There are many shady guys trying to sell you a bicycle. I will write more about it later in this article. The good thing is that bicycle rental shops can be found all over the city, especially in tourist areas. Day rates vary from 8,50 Euro to 15 Euro. Sometimes you can grab some multi-day rates as low as 8 Euro. There are also discounts for groups or extra rental days. While renting a bike in Amsterdam, be prepared for a deposit. Deposit rates vary from 50 Euro to 200 Euro per bike. I also recommend you get some insurance against theft (this is optional in most rental shops).
IS IT SAFE TO BIKE IN AMSTERDAM?
In general, I must say that cycling in Amsterdam is safe and convenient. Obviously, the city itself is quite busy all the time so you need to be careful. Especially because wearing a helmet is not obligatory in Amsterdam. As already mentioned in this article, most cyclists do not wear helmets, except for children. What I noticed as a foreigner living in Amsterdam, the likelihood of being involved in an accident while cycling in the city is quite low. Bike accidents stand for 20-30% of all fatal traffic accidents that occur on Amsterdam’s roads every year and the average total number of fatal traffic accidents yearly is between 10 and 20. Just to compare – in Italy, there are around 10 fatal bike accidents per 100 thousand kilometers. In the Netherlands only 2.
WHAT ABOUT BIKE THEFT IN AMSTERDAM?
No country in the world is subject to bike theft as the Netherlands. Over 100 thousand bicycles are stolen. And what’s interesting, more than a half of those stolen bikes are stolen from in front of someone’s own house during the daytime.
THERE ARE 2 MOST IMPORTANT TIPS IF YOU WANT TO MINIMIZE THE CHANCE THAT YOUR BIKE IS STOLEN:
- Remember to lock your bike properly
Even if you’re just leaving your bike for a couple of minutes to get some groceries, do not forget to lock your bicycle. If possible, use two locks and lock your bike to something solid. This may be a traffic sign, a lamp post or a bike rack. It’s very important that you learn how to lock your bike properly so that individual parts of it cannot be stolen. Bike theft is really common in Amsterdam and many bikes end up pushed into the canals. You may be surprised but many Amsterdammers invest more in a good lock than in a bike itself.
- Try to personalize your bike
A sturdy lock is very important but not the only way of taking care of your bike. The more distinctively your bike looks, the smaller chances it will be stolen. Why? Bicycle thieves definitely prefer to steal nondescript bikes so that they are easier to sell without being caught.
And one more thing, never buy a bicycle from someone in the street. There’s a huge chance that the bike you’re buying has been stolen. If you do, and if you get caught, you will be fined.
What About Other Transport?
Foreigners who don’t necessarily know anything about the transportation system in the Netherlands very often find Amsterdam to be a cute fantasyland with a poor car and train network. They couldn’t be more wrong – the transportation system in Amsterdam is one of the most successful systems in the world. It’s amazingly convenient, clean, cheap and safe. Amsterdam plans to be a Co2 free city by the year 2030, so in 10 years only electric cars will be allowed in the city center. And already today you can see a lot of e-cars in the city.
THE FINAL WORD
Amsterdam is a perfect place for biking, that’s indisputable. In this crowded and always-busy city, it’s much easier to commute to work by bike than by car. An amazing infrastructure, well-prepared regulations, a positive attitude towards cyclists – all this makes Amsterdam a paradise for people who love biking. If you follow some simple rules and anti-theft tips, it will be an amazing experience, no matter if you’re an Amsterdammer or a tourist.