Bicycle Rules and Regulations in The Netherlands

Vehicle regulations

a) have an efficient brake, b) be equipped with a bell capable of being heard at a sufficient distance, and carry no other audible warning device, and c) be equipped with a red reflecting device at the rear, and devices ensuring that the bicycle can show a white or yellow light at the front and a red light at the rear.

In addition to the above mentioned “conditions for the admission of cycles to international traffic”, some countries such as Germany and the Netherlands have supplementary regulations regarding mandatory equipment to ensure cyclists’ visibility. Examples are:

  • One white reflecting device visible from the front.
  • Orange pedal reflectors visible from the front and rear.
  • Two wheel-mounted orange spoke reflectors on each wheel, arranged at an angle of 180o and visible from the side, or continuous white circular retro-reflector strips on the tyres or on the spokes of the front and rear wheels.
  • One additional red large-surface reflector on the rear.
  • Mudguards to prevent mud from reducing the visibility of lights and reflectors.

In some countries (the Netherlands, for example), standards for accessories such as children’s bicycle seats have been drawn up. These standards include requirements and recommendations regarding seat attachment, dimensions, footrests, and protection against feet coming into contact with the spokes.

Traffic rules for cyclists

  • Cyclists must not ride without holding the handlebars with at least one hand, must not allow themselves to be towed by another vehicle, and must not carry, tow, or push objects which hamper their cycling or endanger other road users.
  • They must keep to the right of the carriageway (to the left in the United Kingdom and Ireland) and give an appropriate arm signal when they wish to turn.
  • In principle, cyclists may not ride more than one abreast. Some countries however introduced exceptions to this rule; for instance, cyclists may ride two abreast where the carriageway is wide enough, where cycle traffic is heavy, on cycle tracks, etc.
  • They are required to use cycle lanes and tracks. They may not, however, use motorways and similar roads.
  • When walking and pushing their bicycles on foot, cyclists are classified as pedestrians and may therefore use the pavement.


2.1 Road positioning Article 3 (Article 1, 2, 2a and 2b in Appendix 3): Drivers are required to keep as far over to the right as possible.

2.2 Overtaking Article 11:

1 All overtaking must be carried out on the leftž.

2 Drivers who have positioned themselves on the leftž and have signalled their intention to turn leftž are to be overtaken on the right.

3 Cyclists must overtake other cyclists on the lež. They may overtake other slower moving vehicles on the right.

2.5 Giving priority Article 15:

1 At road junctions, drivers must give priority to traffic approaching from the right.

2 The following exceptions exist to this rule: a. drivers on unpaved roads must give priority to drivers on paved roads; b. all drivers must give priority to tram drivers.

2.7 Turning Article 17:

1 Drivers wishing to turn must take up an appropriate road position by: a. if they wish to turn to the right, they must move across to the right side of the carriageway as soon as possible; b. if they wish to turn to the leftž, they must take up an appropriate position close to the middle of the road or if they are on a dual carriageway they must take up a position as far to the leftž as possible.

2 Drivers must give advance warning of their intention to turn, either by using their indicator or by giving arm signals.

Maximum speed for bikes: 30 km/h (outside a built up area: 40 km/h)

2.11 Parking bicycles and mopeds Article 27: Bicycles and mopeds may be parked on the pavement, on footpaths, at the side of the road or wherever an official sign indicates that it is permitted.

2.13 Using lights while driving Article 35:

1 Cyclists will use lights in accordance with parts 2 through 4 when riding at night or during the day if visibility is seriously restricted.

2 A bicycle with two wheels and a cycle with three wheels having a single front wheel must be equipped with a white or yellow light carried at the front, unless the rider is wearing a white or yellow light on his or her chest.

3 A cycle with more than two wheels having two front wheels must carry two white or two yellow lights at the front, symmetrically aached to the leftž and right of the center.

4 A cycle must be equipped with a red rear light carried at the rear, unless the rider or a passenger seated behind the rider is wearing a red light on his or her back.

5 A cycle may carry two amber direction indicator lights at the front and two at the back.

6 No more lights may be carried on a cycle, by its rider or by a passenger seated behind the rider than the lights indicated in parts 2 through 5.

Article 35a

1 The lights indicated in Article 35 must not blind other road users.

2 The lights indicated in Article 35, parts 1 through 4 may not be flashing lights.

3 The lights indicated in Article 35, parts 1 through 4, must: a. be continually visible at the front to oncoming road users; b. be continually visible at the rear for road users approaching from behind.

2.20 Emergency vehicles Article 50: Road users must at all times give priority to drivers of emergency vehicles.

3.3 Traffic lights Article 68:

1 The colours in three-colour traffic lights signify as follows: a. green light: proceed; b. amber light: stop; drivers who are so close to the traffic lights that they cannot reasonably be expected to stop safely should proceed; c. red light: stop.


Road signs for cycling in the Netherlands

Road Traffic Signs and Regulations in the Netherlands

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