cycle culture / Cycling / photo-essay / the netherlands

Photo-essay: The Three S's of Dutch Cycling

Why do the the Dutch cycle? I think you can answer this question in three words: Simple, Safe and Sensible. With the help of a few pictures, I’m going to show you why this is the case.


Park right outside your front door. No permit needed. No lengthy search for a parking space.


The same goes for your destination . . .

. . . wherever it may be.


No need for special equipment like helmets and high-visibility clothing.

Simply get on . . .

. . . and go!



On busy roads, bikes have a dedicated lane to keep cyclists protected from motor traffic.


Which can be comfortably used by people of all ages . . .


Low speed limits on small streets create safe and relaxing environments to mix with cars when there is no cycle lane.




Within cities, cycling is usually your fastest option. I did an experiment with a route planner on a journey of 4km from my apartment to Amsterdam’s central station. Driving comes out as one minuet faster than cycling, but that was in ‘lighter traffic than usual’ and doesn’t factor in time spent finding a parking space.


Cycling doesn’t just save you time, it saves you money too.

In the opening I asked: Why do the Dutch cycle? But when you consider the ease, safety and practically of riding a bike in the Netherlands, the question should really be: Why wouldn’t the Dutch cycle? If you plan for an environment where cycling can be simple, safe and sensible, people will be quickly asking themselves: “Why wouldn’t I ride a bike?”