Netherlands reports rise in bike-on-bike cycle path injuries

Injuries to cyclists double amid concern about "anti-social" riding

by Elliot Johnston   April 25, 2014  

Amsterdam Bicycles (Jorge Royan, Wikimedia Commons)

New data from the Netherlands shows an increase in the number of bike-on-bike cycle path collisions causing injuries that require a visit to A&E, leading to concerns about a growth in “anti-social” cycling and and worries that in some areas the cycle paths are approaching the limit of their capacity.

According to Dutch road safety body VeiligheidNL, the increased number of collisions can be put down to the increased traffic on cycle paths and trails.

VeiligheidNL’s data shows that 11% of Dutch cyclists had experienced an accident involving another cyclist, while a quarter had experienced an incident, or a near-incident with another cyclist at some point in the last three years.

Of these incidents 65% resulted in injury and of the injured, 60% were middle-aged men.

The road safety body’s data shows that injuries requiring a vist to a hospital emergency department more than doubled over the five years between 2007 and 2012. The figure for hospitalised cyclists stood at 2,000 per year for the period between 2007 and 2010, but then rose to 3,700 in 2011, and then again to 4,200 in 2012.

Despite the rise in injured cyclists, the number of hours that cyclists spend training dropped from 250 to 200 million hours after 2010.

Racing cyclists also said that only about a third of the accidents in which they were involved took place in built-up areas, and that most incidents occur on cycle paths.

The research went on to state that 51% of all of the incidents in their survey occurred as a result of inadequate consideration on the part of one of the cyclists involved in the collision, while 35% of the incidents were considered to have been caused by an error of judgement.

The report says that the line between antisocial behaviour and cyclists taking too little account of others is thin, and noted that only 26% of the cyclists questioned took responsibility for the collisions they'd been in.

Further comments in the study suggested that half of the riders surveyed think that cyclists do not adjust their speed according to cycle path conditions regularly enough, and a third believe that cyclists do not take sufficient account of other road users.

The concentration of cyclists on cycle paths is not the only problem facing Dutch cyclists.

We reported earlier in the month that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had released data stating that 10,000 lives per year could be saved in Western capitals alone if cycling were as popular as it is in Copenhagen.

According to WHO statistics, cycling accounts for 26% of journeys in Copenhagen. In Amsterdam, 33% of the city’s journeys are being made by bike.

This sample-topping figure comes at the end of a 20 year period which has seen 40% growth in the use of bikes in the city, according to

The website went on to express concerns that the city’s infrastructure is struggling to handle such levels of cycling, highlighting the narrow bike lanes and over-encumbered bike racks that are “beginning to affect accessibility”.

13 user comments

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A quarter experienced a cyclist on cyclist near-miss or worse in the last THREE YEARS?

What are they complaining about?

I seem to have them weekly, and with cars (almost) daily...

posted by jacknorell [346 posts]
25th April 2014 - 17:33

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Oh, to have their problems

posted by bikebot [501 posts]
25th April 2014 - 17:48

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I blame Strava...

posted by Paul_C [176 posts]
25th April 2014 - 19:36

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Bloody lightweights, I see dozens of near misses a day from a**eholes who don't know how to ride.

KalaBlinds 'cos we all need our beauty sleep.

posted by don simon [144 posts]
25th April 2014 - 22:01

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Paul_C wrote:
I blame Strava...

Funnily enough I agree with you. Flag those inappropriate segments and exercise the judgment that those strava zombies are not able to.

posted by arfa [486 posts]
25th April 2014 - 22:08

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More first world problems. Just what I need this early in the morning.

posted by Argos74 [289 posts]
26th April 2014 - 6:04

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Yes, one word... Segments...

posted by cyclingdave70 [22 posts]
26th April 2014 - 8:53

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Having ridden in Amsterdam I suspect that part of this is down to the general lax attitude towards bike maintenance. I have hired bikes from two seperate shops which had no working brake, a coaster brake should easily lock the rear wheel, but they just don't care, privately owned ones are often worse.

posted by drfabulous0 [314 posts]
26th April 2014 - 12:06

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60% were middle-aged men.

Those stupid fat w@*&ers, trying to pretend they are still young by buying expensive bikes and riding them too fast.
[looks down] Oh.

Suffering from Low Cadence.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1254 posts]
26th April 2014 - 12:15

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The study covers 2007-2012, Strava use only became widespread after that.... Nerd A real issue though is the sharp rise in e-bikes, many of the (often older) users can hardly manage those things. And don't get me started about in-town bikers that only pay attention to their cell phone Angry

posted by joopi [6 posts]
27th April 2014 - 10:30

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As reported by Joopi, the electric bike business is booming in the NL. Check out the Dutch bike shops!

My anecdotal observation is that e-bikes are mostly ridden by older people, and boy do they go fast (20-25 kmh on bike lanes). This must surely have an incidence on bike on bike collision? On the other hand, such users would create much more havoc behind a car's steering wheel... Overall, the Dutch are investing heavily in bike infrastructure (always did), making biking through their towns really pleasant, notwithstanding the generally awful weather (or is it only me?)

The entropy of the universe increases constantly. Carpe diem.

posted by noether [51 posts]
27th April 2014 - 21:21

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Get 'em all whacked off their tits on 'narbis. That'll slow 'em down.

Or maybe the cycleways are......... clogged.

That's only two national stereotypes in one post. Must try harder. Big Grin

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
27th April 2014 - 21:52

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arfa wrote:
Paul_C wrote:
I blame Strava...

Funnily enough I agree with you. Flag those inappropriate segments and exercise the judgment that those strava zombies are not able to.

Do you think that the folks seeking to set a time check if a segment is flagged before setting out? Flagging achieves nothing and encourages segment bloat - don't do it.

posted by Ham-planet [89 posts]
28th April 2014 - 14:26

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