The Dutch cycle the most worldwide
More than a quarter of all journeys in the Netherlands are made by bicycle. As a result, the Dutch make the most frequent use of bicycles worldwide. For example, last year, the Dutch made 4,8 billion journeys with the bicycle, covering 17,6 billion km.
The Knowledge Institute for Mobility Policy (Kennisinstituut voor Mobiliteitsbeleid, KiM) reports that more and more Dutch people use an e-bike for this purpose.
In the bicycle-crazy Netherlands, there are also more bicycles than Dutch. It is estimated that in 2018 there were 22,9 million bicycles in the Netherlands on 17,2 million inhabitants. With 1,3 bicycles per inhabitant, the Netherlands is a leader in terms of bicycle ownership.
There is also no other country where bicycles’ share for journeys is as high as in the Netherlands. In Denmark, number two, the bicycle is used less than 20% of the time. Germany is third with 10% of journeys made by bicycle, followed by Sweden and Finland. Belgium is sixth, with plus-minus 8% of journeys made by bicycle.
E-bike on the up
Last year, 18% of bicycle journeys in the Netherlands were made by e-bike. In 2013, it was 8%. More than a quarter of the distance traveled was by e-bike. The popularity of the e-bike has risen, especially among people under 65 years of age.
The e-bike is also being used more and more frequently for commuting between home and work. Since 2018, more e-bikes have been sold annually than touring or city bikes without pedal assistance.
More women in the saddle
The report also shows that women and young people cycle most often. Although the difference in proportion is not so great (29% for women compared to 27% for men), women cycle more than men.
People with opportunities to use a car also cycle less. And as more cars are available in the household, the bicycle is used less often.
Also noteworthy: people who live in more urban areas cycle relatively more than people from less or non-urban areas. This has to do, among other things, with the distances to destinations, which are generally less far apart in urban areas than elsewhere.
Popular in cities
For example, in large Dutch cities, there has been a slight increase in the number of bicycle movements. Leiden, Zwolle, and Groningen, in particular, stand out in terms of bicycle use. More than half of all traffic movements in these cities are by bicycle. In Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague, this is a lot less, partly due to the extensive public transport.
Car is a competitor for short distances
And perhaps the most remarkable finding from the report: the car is a major competitor for the bicycle for short distances. Many trips that can also be made by bicycle based on the distance are made by car. In 2019, one-third of car journeys were shorter than 5 km; this concerns 2,5 billion journeys. Nearly half (47%) of the car journeys (3,5 billion) involve less than 7,5 km, and 64% (4,8 billion) is less than 15 km.
For journeys of up to 7,5 km (65% of all journeys), 38% of Dutch people use their bicycles, and 34% use their cars. For distances from 3,7 km, the car is more popular than the bicycle.
When all these short car rides should be made by bike, this would save 1,8 Mton of CO2, 1,8 tons NOX, and 0,05 tons of particulate matter per year.
More cycling fatalities
Of all the road deaths in the Netherlands, about one-third are cyclists. Since 2013, the number of road deaths has risen slightly. This increase is clearly visible among bicycle users. Of the 228 and 203 cycling fatalities in 2018 and 2019, respectively, at least 65 (32%) of the fatalities were on e-bikes. Men are clearly more likely to die as a result of a cycling accident than women. Most cycling fatalities are 70 years and older.
According to the researchers, bicycle use in the Netherlands has changed slightly since the beginning of the corona crisis. The average distance has increased from 3,4 km in September 2019 to 4,1 km in July this year, and more people are using the bike for purely sportive use.
Approximately 37% who no longer take the bus, tram, or metro because of the coronavirus take the bicycle. Approximately half of them would like to continue to do so if the coronavirus measures are lifted.