Community and events
700,000 registered motorcycles
The Dutch might be more famous for their bicycles than motorcycles, but there’s a devoted biker community here too. Large-scale events are thin on the ground, but where there are bikers, there are rallies:
Rally Spirtitten – All kinds of bikes and bikers are welcome to this rally, held in the village of Slagharen with live music, good food and good company – all you need! There’s also a popular theme park nearby if you want to treat the kids.
Motorcycle Action Group – The MAG also has a presence in the Netherlands: check their site for a list of events and meet-ups.
Admittedly, jaw-dropping scenery and hair-raising bends are in rather short supply in the flat Netherlands. However, look out for the brown hexagonal signs erected by the ANWB (the Dutch equivalent of the AA): these signpost the more picturesque routes to take.
This route begins in Haarlem and runs south to Leiden, passing through almost 25 miles of the flower polders this country is famous for. The best time to ride is in April, when the tulips are shooting out of the ground in every colour imaginable: don’t forget your camera!
Safety and the law
3.9 annual road fatalities per 100,000 people (2012)
PTWs account for 15% of fatalities (2011)
The Netherlands has an excellent road safety record. Accident rates are among the lowest in Europe, partly due to the Dutch police’s tough line on traffic offences, so be on your best behaviour while you’re on the road! Speed cameras are abundant.
Traffic has right of way when it comes from the right – this includes cyclists, who tend to have the run of the roads to a much greater extent than in the UK. Authorities take a particularly dim view of aggressive or inconsiderate motoring, so take things steady and relaxed – it’s the Dutch way.
90% of population speak English
Good news: almost everybody in the Netherlands speaks fluent English – and even if you speak Dutch, it’s hard to get the locals to stop speaking to you in English! There’s no need to learn the local lingo, although the thought is always appreciated.