Update: Een april, kikker in je bil (April 1, frog in your butt)! Alright, the Dutch expression doesn’t quite work in English, but yes, April Fools!
Earlier: The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management has announced that all internationals residing in the Netherlands will soon require a fiets rijbewijs (biking license) to cycle in the Netherlands.
Under the tagline of “Veilig fietsen: door iedereen, voor iedereen” (safe cycling: by everyone, for everyone), this decision comes as a country-wide initiative to make biking safer for everyone.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte explains: “Individuals that struggle on the bicycle can keep up traffic, or even put others in danger. Most of the time, these people happen to be internationals. This is an issue that can and should be resolved.”
The new law is set to go into effect on July 1, 2023.
Like driving education, but for bicycles
Similar to the bike exam that Dutch schoolchildren take, internationals living, or coming to live in the Netherlands will soon have to take a test in which they prove that they’re fit to cycle on Dutch roads.
READ MORE | Slow down! The municipality of Amsterdam pushes for a bike speed limit
The final exam will test expats’ knowledge in four categories: traffic signs, priority rules, bike-related vocabulary, and bicycle safety equipment.
Resistance in parliament
The new measure caused many heated debates in the Dutch parliament. While the liberal party D66 viewed it as “discriminatory and unnecessary,” they were overridden by other parties who were in favour of the rule.
READ MORE | How to use your bike like a real Dutchie: from trampling pedestrians to running red lights
However, the recently elected BBB party, which views bicycling as “Hollandsche glorie” (Dutch glory), pushed hard for the implementation of the law, leaning on the expertise of the Dutch Cyclist’s Union.
A spokesperson from this union, which had been advocating for this rule for years, explains: “It’s not about discrimination, it’s about keeping our streets, and our people safe.” 😬
How will it work in practice?
The Dutch government is investing €13 million in total into the launch, delegating the funds to the opening of testing centres, the development of exams, and overall safer cycling conditions.
READ MORE | I stopped at the red light: Amsterdam installs button that displays number of good cyclists
Though the project still needs to be finalised, a spokesperson from the government has answered some burning questions.
“If you fail the test three times, you will be considered a danger to society, and the government will opt out of issuing you a bike license. In those cases, public transport will be your best friend,” he explains. 😳
Some further measures include the following:
- Internationals will need to wear a bright orange helmet at all times.
- If you fail to present your cycling license to the politie, you will be charged a fine of €120, and your bike will be deposited in the nearest canal.
- If you cycle without a license, you will be forced to fish bikes out of the canals following big public holidays such as King’s Day. (This is meant to show what can happen to those who don’t cycle safely.)
- If you cycle while intoxicated, your license will immediately be revoked, you will not be allowed to bike in the Netherlands again, and you must gift your bike to an officer in training.
- Tourists and learners may use adult-size tricycles in flashy colours for safety and in order to alert cyclists to their learner status.
What do you think about the Netherlands’ decision to implement a cycling license for internationals? Tell us in the comments!
Please tell me this is a “April Fools” article. The Dutch cyclists are often a danger to themselves and others with how recklessly they cycle. 🙈
Is this an April fool article 😐
This is ridiculous the majority of the time Are Dutch people who don’t respect the traffic lights etc.
I think Dutch government should discuss more important topic like the costs of life which is becoming absurd, rather than find ways to punt in major difficulties people who use the bike to go to work!!
You might want to check the date of your comment…
This is ridiculous the majority of the time Are Dutch people who don’t respect the traffic lights, they go in 2 on 1 bike!! I think Dutch government should discuss more important topic like the costs of life which is becoming absurd, rather than find ways to punt in major difficulties people who use the bike to go to work!!
And definitely better the second time around!
This is so funny I died