Traffic rules for cyclists

Traffic rules for cyclists

In the Netherlands, we have different sets of rules for car drivers and for cyclists. The cyclists' place on the road and expected behaviour at crossings is explained in detail on this website. Adhere to these rules and prevent getting involved in an accident! We will focus on specific (dangerous) traffic situations and elaborate on how a cyclist should best react. Finally, we present an overview of the most important traffic signs and their meaning. You can also test your knowledge after reading the different sections on this website.

Cycling and traffic safety

In 2019, 203 cyclists lost their lives in a traffic accident. On top of this, many cyclists were injured and had to be treated in a hospital. In spite of these facts, many cyclists still cycle without lights and many do not take the traffic rules and signs too seriously… This behaviour leads to accidents that would otherwise have been avoided. Needless to say, we emphasize the need to know and adhere to the rules!

Some specific rules for cyclists

Driving on the right 

In the Netherlands cyclists, like other road users, ar supposed to drive on the right-hand side of the road. This can be difficult for those who are used to riding on the left-hand side. Especially when crossing, this can be dangerous, so it is important to pay extra attention. Vehicles are coming from a different direction than one is used to. 


A cyclist’s blood alcohol content should not exceed 0.5 promille (0.5g of alcohol in one litre of blood). It is illegal to cycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The police can impose a cycling ban on you for drunk cycling.

GPS navigation and mobile phone

Since the 1st of July it is forbidden by law to hold your mobile phone or any other mobile electronic device while cycling. It can distract you and is therefore discouraged. It's best to keep your phone in your pocket and not risk a €95 fine. However, it is allowed to use headphones to listen to music or call while cycling. Additionally, it is allowed to use a bicycle phone holder for the bicycle so you can still use it for GPS navigation.


You are not obliged to have your bicycle inspected. It does, however, need to have proper brakes and lighting.

Advice/unwritten rule

A safe cyclist knows the importance of looking around and making eye-contact in traffic. It enables you to anticipate to all sorts of unexpected situations. And if you look around you, you unconsciously give information to other road users. It is an unwritten rule in the Netherlands that road users expect each other to do so.

Traffic can seem quite complex and the Dutch rules can be very different from the ones in your country. If, after reading this website, you are not completely convinced that you fully master the rules and understand the described traffic situations, try to approach your fellow students. Exchanging experiences and knowledge with others can help you to deal with difficult situations.

Don't forget to have a look at more complex traffic situations presented on this website as well.