In the Netherlands over a quarter of all journeys are carried out by bicycle, making the Dutch the most frequent users of bicycles worldwide.
In Denmark (2nd place), 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.
Last year the Dutch carried out nearly 5 billion journeys by bike, covering a distance of 17,6 billion km.
In the bicycle-crazy Netherlands, there are also more bicycles than people. 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, New Mobility reports.
According to researchers at the Knowledge Institute for Mobility Policy, bicycle use in the Netherlands has increased 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.
Their report also suggests women and young people cycle most often in the country. Although quite even – 29% for women compared to 27% for men – women cycle more than men.
Car competitor for short distances
The most surprising finding from the report is that 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 in The Netherlands were shorter than 5 km; this translates to 2,5 billion journeys. Nearly half (47%) of the car journeys (3,5 billion) involve distances less than 7,5 km, and 64% (4,8 billion) 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. If all these short car rides will be made by bike, this would save 1,8 Mton of CO2, 1,8 tons NOX, and 0,05 tons of particulate matter of air pollution per year.
Out of all road deaths in the Netherlands, about one-third are cyclists. Of the 228 cycling fatalities in 2018 and 203 in 2019, 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, and the study also shows most cycling fatalities are of riders 70 years and older.