Bike paths are too busy, cyclists take risks


A recently published report by the Foundation for Traffic Studies (SWOV) on the use of bike paths in Amsterdam and The Hague has reached the major conclusion that bike paths aren’t wide enough, and extrapolates their findings to other big cities during rush hour. As well, 20% of cyclists fiddle with their smartphones while cycling, four out of five cyclists don’t look around them when passing others (something Dutch driving lessons hammer into you) and one of out 20 cyclists cycle the wrong direction.

The report points out that many bike paths are not wide enough to accommodate the flow of cyclists, although 90% of people cycle with a standard sized bike. It does say that scooters are bigger and tend to add to the traffic, but only account for a small percentage of bike path users. Half of the locations observed in both cities during rush hour are too busy and the risky behaviour mentioned above is not making cycling any safer.

In Europe The Netherlands is the king of ‘cycling usage’, with 84% of the population owning a bike, while Denmark takes top place for ‘cycling advocacy’. The legend of there being more bikes than people here – a unique occurrence in the world – is still true. The real threat to safety remains scooters because they go too fast. The effects of having moved them off the bike path in Amsterdam has not yet been observed and reported.

In this older video below, there’s a cyclist moving ahead of the green light, which is wrong but not a huge deal. There are people completely outside of the cycle lane going wide and that’s slightly annoying. And then there’s some freestyling that is risky and inconsiderate. I’ll admit to pulling some stunts while cycling, but I categorically refuse to do anything with my smartphone and don’t listen to music.

(Link:,, Photo by Flickr user comedynose, some rights reserved)


  1. huphtur says:

    Isn’t there a law against using smartphones while cycling?

  2. Orangemaster says:

    Nope, not explicitly, as stated in the Road Traffic Act of 1994:

    1.1 Rules of Conduct

    Article 5
    It is an offence for any road user to act in such manner as to cause a hazard (or a potential hazard) on the public highway or to obstruct other road users in any way.

    Article 6
    All participants in traffic are forbidden to behave in such a way that a traffic accident attributable to them occurs in which another person is killed or sustains serious physical injury or physical injury such that temporary illness occurs or that person is prevented from engaging in normal activity.

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