Getting around by bike
Cycling is a very common mode of transport in the Netherlands. Dutch people use their bike for everyting: as a way to commute, for recreation and transportation. It is very popular because of the good infrastructure, with a well maintained network of cycle paths and clear signposts. Wearing a biking helmet is not compulsory.
This makes cycling in the Netherlands safe, convenient and pleasant. In the Leiden region the infrastructure is very good. You can easily cycle from the city to the coast. Within only 20-30 minutes of cycling you can enjoy the wide, sandy beaches of Katwijk. More about cycling:
- Make sure your bike has a lock as bikes often get stolen.
- Wearing a helmet is not mandatory.
- Use the bell on your bike when pedestrians are blocking your way.
- Signal when you turn: stick out the arm in the direction that you are turning.
Some rules regarding cycling in the Netherlands:
- It is not permitted to cycle side by side with more than two people.
- It is not permitted to cycle on foot paths. You are required to make use of designated bicycle paths or else on the road.
- It is obligatory to have working lights for your bike, to ensure visibility in the dark, mist or other circumstances with limited visibility. You should have a white or yellow light on the front of your bike, and a red light on the back. If you do not have working lights, you can get fined.
Parking your bicycle around Leiden Central Station
Around the Central Station in Leiden it is prohibited to park your bike outside of the designated areas. These areas are indicated by signs that say “Fiets fout, fiets weg”. This means that if your bicycle is parked in the wrong spot it will be removed by the municipality.
The municipality also has the right to remove your bicycle from these areas if it has been parked there in the same spot for two weeks or longer.
If you suspect your bicycle may have been taken, you can check the website: http://www.fffw-leiden.nl. On this website, photographs of the taken bicycles are published. If your bicycle has been taken, you can go to the depot to collect it. To do so, you are required to bring valid identification and the key to your bicycle. The cost of getting your bicycle back is 26 euros. Please note: the only accepted method of payment is by debit card!
I love being on my bike and being able to get around safely and easily. Back in the UK I wouldn’t even have considered a 5-minute bike ride to the local supermarket as the roads were too dangerous.