Goodbye to two-wheeled texting: 6 things you need to know about the smartphone ban for cyclists in the Netherlands

In a country where bikes outnumber people, there are growing safety concerns for people who cycle and scroll. But a law that stops cyclists changing their Spotify playlist on the bike might be a bit too far for some of us…

Here are 5 things you need to know about the electronic device ban in the Netherlands: 

1. The ban covers all electronic devices 

Still possess a nifty ipod? Unfortunately, this is also included within the ban as well as tablets (although anyone who can cycle and use a tablet the same time deserves a medal). Smartwatches are still allowed though!

Think you can hold your phone in your hand and subtly change the song while peddling? Simply carrying your phone in your hand meets the low threshold. You will be served a 95 euro fine if you’re caught.

Perhaps you could….

2. Get a phone holder on your bike?

You are permitted to use an electronic device if it is secured in a holder. Not the coolest fashion accessory, but hey neither were bum bags until they made an impressive comeback.

3.Cycling to meet a friend for coffee but you need to tell them you’re running late?

Unlikely given the Dutch are exceptionally punctual but the ban only applies if you are actually in motion, so you can still flick a message to your mate if you are paused at traffic lights…. We think…

BUUTTTTT, this is still a bit vague, since you’re still participating in traffic. So we’re waiting for a tweet from the police to clear this up. Because they tweet some handy stuff as the Dutch are figuring out this smartphone-cycling-ban:

4.Same same but different – motorcyclists, bus and tram drivers are included in this law too

The same rules apply for motorcyclists, bus and tram drivers but a larger fine is issued – 160 euros for motorcyclists and 240 euros for bus and tram drivers.

Horseriders and well, pedestrians, can still use a smartphone.

5. Is texting while cycling actually that dangerous?

Research shows the link between serious accidents resulting in emergency care and use of mobile phones is not particularly high. However, less serious incidents have become more frequent, particularly among young people. In 2017, one in five bike accidents involved the use of a smartphone.

Cyclists were initially exempt from the ban when it was first drafted in 2018 because of their lower speeds but after further consideration, the law was expanded to include cyclists due to accessibility of unlimited mobile data plans and increased use of social media.

Van Niewenhuizen said “whenever you’re on the road you should be paying full attention and not doing anything at all on a phone.”

6. Tweets and memes about the smartphone cycling ban because it is 2019 and we’re DutchReview

Here ya go, you might want to learn Dutch for these though:

Be safe on the fiets folks!






Freya Sawbridge
Freya Sawbridge
Freya was born in Edinburgh but raised in New Zealand (cue every person she meets saying “oh I have always wanted to go there but it’s so far away!”). A restless and curious nature has led her to move countries 5 times in the last 3 years in attempt to find a place she can call home. She contacted DutchReview on a whim and arrived in the Netherlands in summer 2019 to start her internship.


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