Tips and Traffic Rules for Cycling in the Netherlands

It is important to know the traffic rules when you are cycling in another country.

If you have been to the Netherlands, you will recognize some of the things in these pictures – multiple children or pets on bikes, moving furniture, no helmets, etc. Believe it or not – All of these things are legal in the Netherlands!

Photo Credits

Requirements when cycling in the Netherlands

  • You have to have a bell on your bike
  • You have to have lights on your bike and reflectors – they are very strict about this! Please visit where they go into detail of the specifics of the lights/reflectors that are allowed and not allowed.
  • Not all e-bikes are classed as bikes. A Speed Pedelec that goes up to 45 km is classed as a moped and follows different rules.
  • You have to bike on the right side of the road.
  • Follow signs when a bike path is mandatory or optional.
'Fietspad' is the Dutch word for cycle path. Left: road sign for a compulsory cycle path. Right: road sign for an optional cycle path. Photos ©
This sign means you have to take bike path. Photos ©

“Fietspad” means bike path. When you see this sign it means that there is a bike path but it is optional if you want to take it.
Photos ©
  • You are not allowed to ride on the pavement or in pedestrian areas.
  • You have to indicate your left/right turns
  • You do NOT have to wear a helmet. Wow!!! This one is shocking to me as in Canada (where I am located) this has been law for under 18 for a very long time.
  • You are allowed passengers on the front or back. Children under 8 have to be in a bike seat as per requirements.
  • As of July 1, 2019 you will not be allowed to use phone or GPS while biking
  • You are allowed to listen to music although it is not encouraged as it is a distraction and can cause accidents.
  • Just like other countries you have to stop for red lights.
  • You may not drive under the influence of alcohol.

Please visit as they have detailed information on all of these rules if needed. Wikepedia has a list of traffic signs for Netherlands that you should review before cycling in the Netherlands.

When we go on our cycling trip around the Isjelmeer in 2020, I guess before we get into the beer and wine we better make sure that we are done cycling for the day. 🙂


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