Nearly 10,000 cyclists in the Netherlands have been fined for using a handheld mobile phone while riding a bike since a change in the law earlier this year, according to figures released by the country’s justice ministry.
Since the change in the law, 9,200 people riding bikes and using phones without a hands-free kit have been issued with fines, according to the website iamexpat.nl.
The offence is punishable by a fine of €95 plus costs.
We don’t know how many motorists have been fined in the Netherlands during the same period for illegal use of a mobile phone while driving.
However, it is clear to anyone with the slightest interest in road safety that the propensity of someone distracted by their mobile device to cause harm to others is way higher if they are driving a motor vehicle than riding a bike.
But for context, in the whole of 2015, just under 17,000 drivers were fined for using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel in England and Wales – with those two countries having a combined population around three-and-a-half times larger than that of the Netherlands.
In 2017, the punishment for the offence here was doubled to a £200 fine and the motorist’s driving licence being endorsed with six penalty points.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.