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Cycling mecca Netherlands is embracing electric bikes

 

Agence France-Presse

Amsterdam, Netherlands  /  Mon, November 9, 2020  /  07:01 pm
Cycling mecca Netherlands is embracing electric bikes

View of a canal in Amsterdam with a woman on a bicycle on April 12, 2017. (AFP/Aurore Belot)

Bicycles are an institution in the Netherlands — the country actually counts more bikes than inhabitants.

And now, like elsewhere in Europe, people there are increasingly adopting e-bikes, whose sales are higher than those of classical bicycles, according to recent figures from the Dutch government mobility institute (KiM).

There are more bikes in the Netherlands (about 22.9 million) than its total population (17.2 million). With a ratio of 1.3 bikes per inhabitant, it is the world champion when it comes to cycling.

Its popularity in the country is related to the lifestyle of the Dutch and the fact that they associate biking with well-being (its virtues in terms of health benefits and stress reduction have been cited many times).

Read also: Mark Rutte, the Dutch PM cycling into EU headwinds

In 2019, the Dutch traveled a total of 17.6 billion kilometers by bicycle, which translates to 3 km a day per person. They used bikes for 28 percent of their trips, favoring this mode of transport over walking and public transportation. It is worth noting that this figure climbs to 48 percent of trips made by people under 18.

Moreover, biking is more widespread in cities (over 40 percent of travels for people in Utrecht and Amsterdam) than in the countryside. While the use of cars prevails for relatively long trips, biking remains the first choice for trips under 5 km.

In the past few years, the Dutch have started using more electric bikes. In 2019, this means of transportation represented 18 percent of total trips and 26 percent of the number of kilometers traveled by bike in the country. While trips in “traditional” bikes amount to 3.6 km in average, the journeys made on electric bikes average 5.9 km. And for people over 75 who own an e-bike, the average journey made this way averages 7.2 km!

E-bike sales figures show how popular they’re becoming. In the category of adult bicycles, there were more e-bikes sold than traditional bikes last year. In 2019, 420,000 electric bikes were sold in the country, representing 40 per cent of total new bike sales. 

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