A safe bicycle

A safe bicycle

What MUST be present on your bike: WHAT IS MANDATORY?

  • Properly functioning brakes
  • A properly functioning bell
  • Pedals with a rough surface
  • Tightly screwed on handlebars
  • Yellow reflectors on the pedals
  • A red rear reflector 
  • White or yellow side reflectors in the wheels
  • A white front light
  • A red rear light

What is not mandatory but RECOMMENDED?

  • A white front reflector
  • Luggage straps or bicycle bags
  • A white or  yellow reflecting rear mudboard
  • Tightly fixed hand grips
  • Tires with sufficiently deep grooves


When cycling in the dark or with poor view, make sure that you always turn your lights on. You will find that many sport bicycles do not have lights because they are normally not used in the dark. If you have this type of bicycle, or if you are just not confident that your lights work properly, you can easily buy a set of detachable lights. Click below for shops where these lights can be purchased:

Click here to see an overview of Dutch names for crucial bicycle parts.

Bicycle lights

When to switch your bicycle lights on?

  • At night
  • During the day, at semidarkness or in case of poor view (e.g. fog)

Regulation for bicycle lights

  • A bicycle should have a front and rear light;
  • The lights must be visible and shine straight forward, respectively backward;
  • The lights must be attached to the bicycle or to the cyclist's chest. In other words, not to the head, arms or legs. If you are transporting someone on your luggage carrier, he or she can wear the rear light on the back;
  • The lights can not flash or blind other traffic;
  • The front light must be white or yellow;
  • The rear light must be red.

Regulation for reflectors

The following reflectors are mandatory for every type of bicycle.

  • A red rear reflector;
  • Yellow reflectors on the pedals;
  • Circular reflectors on the tires or wheels

When can you get a fine?

  • When cycling without lights in the dark, at dusk or with poor view (€ 60,-);
  • When cycling without reflectors on the rear of your bicycle, on the pedals or on your wheels or tires (€ 40,-);
  • When cycling with a flashing light, a poorly visible light, a light of the wrong colour or a light that is attached to the wrong place (€ 60,-).

The municipality of Wageningen facilitates in bicyle lights by having a campagne called "Light it up".
Besides the local compaign, there are several national compaigns such as ''Zet je licht aan'' (put your light on) and ''Ik val op'' (I stand out).  

Types of bicycles

In the Netherlands many people use the typical upright bicycles. Apart from that we have racing bikes, mountain bikes, electrically assisted bicycles, speed pedelec, cargo bikes and folding bikes. 

Racing bikes and mountain bikes are mainly used for recreational trips. A racing bike has a light-weight frame and slimmer tires that allow for higher speeds. Mountain bikes are made for driving off road, and have thicker tires. Because the tires are thicker than typical bicycles they sometimes are difficult to park in a bicycle rack.

The electrically assisted bicycle can go up to 25 km per hour and is classified as a bicycle. The speed pedelec can reach speeds of 45 km per hour and is therefore considered an electric moped with pedal assistance.

Cargo bikes are bikes with two or three wheels and a large front open box, with which cargo or small children can be transported. There are also cargo bikes available that have electric pedal assistance. Cargo bikes are considered bikes by law and can use the cycle path.

A folding bike is literally a bicycle that can be folded in order to make it easier to transport. The demand for this type of bicycle has clearly been rising lately, as more and more commuters are discovering its potential. Students too appear to like this type of bicycle: it can easily be transported in the train or on the bus.

Tips to prevent theft

It is so frustrating to walk up to the spot where you know you parked your bicycle, only to find that it is gone. There are several measures you can take to prevent this from happening.

  • Place a good quality lock on your bicycle.
  • Always lock it, even if you are only walking away from it for a few minutes.
  • Try to park it in a guarded parking facility.
  • Lock your bicycle both at the frame as through both wheels. Thieves could steel your frame without wheels or steel just your wheels.
  • When using a chain lock, position it high on your bike and make sure that there is no tension on it.This makes it harder for thieves to cut or saw the lock open.
  • Do not leave anything behind in bicycle bags or on your luggage carrier. It is advised to remove the bicycle computers, pumps and detachable lights.

Lost or stolen bicycle

In order to try to reduce the number of bicycle thefts, it is crucial to report the crime. By doing this, a bicycle will be recognised as being stolen and the search for the thief can start. The police can only take action after you reported the crime!

Bicycle accessories

Tools for repairing your bicycle

A flat tire cannot always be prevented! You may want to leave in the morning, finding that the tire has been leaking air all night, or suddenly find yourself stuck with a flat tire halfway your trip. It is always a good idea to carry a tire repair set with you. These can be bought at a bicycle shop or a local D.I.Y. shop.

Bicycle bags

Bicycle bags come in different shapes and sizes. There are several renowned brands that sell high quality bags and other accessories. A bicycle bag is very handy for transporting books or groceries. Since you attach it to your luggage carrier, you have your hands free. 

Bicycle locks

The Netherlands has the record for the largest number of bicycle locks sold per year. Not very surprising, since so many people cycle and bicycles tend to be stolen regularly! In order to prevent the latter from happening to you, you should always lock your bicycle, either in guarded or in unguarded parking facilities. It is advised to use two locks: one that is fixed to your bicycle and a separate lock to be attached to an external point. Using two locks of a different type makes it harder for potential thieves to steal your bicycle. Buy locks that carry the ART quality mark. Click here for more information (Dutch website).

Child seat

As soon as a child can independently sit up straight, he/she can travel in a child seat. These seats can be mounted on the luggage carrier or can be fixed to the handlebars. Children up to the age of 3 can sit in a seat that is attached to the handlebars, while children aged 3 to 5 should be sitting in a child seat that is mounted on the luggage carrier. Pay attention to the following issues:

  • Never leave your bicycle on the bicycle stand when the child seat is occupied, not even if you have a wide stand!
  • Make sure that your bicycle cannot fall over as your child is climbing on it or as you are lifting your child up onto the seat.
  • Load your groceries or bags onto the bicycle before putting your children on it.
  • Keep in mind that the extra weight will cause you to pull up and brake more slowly.
  • Make sure that your child cannot accidentally block the wheel, for example by kicking against a loose lock.