Rules of the road for cyclists

While they may be obvious to local residents, it is extraordinary how many foreign residents and visitors are simply unaware of the rules of the road in the Netherlands.

While this information is not particular to The Hague alone, some key points are highlighted for the benefit of the international residents of this city.  For example, several people have been fined for cycling on the pavements. This is not allowed! It’s also extremely important to know the right of way, particularly when there are no road signs.

Traffic signs specific to cyclists

Traffic signs specific to cyclists

You must use this cycle path

Traffic signs specific to cyclists

This is the recommended cycle path

Traffic signs specific to cyclists

Cyclists must adhere to all other road traffic signs. They are exempted when there is a white rectangular sign with a bicycle symbol and uitgezonderd (meaning “except/apart from”) on it.

Basic rules

  • While cycling, keep to the right and before turning left or right, use your hand to signal.
  • Cycling 2 abreast is permitted as long as there is sufficient space. Cycling in a group (and taking up the whole street) is not allowed.
    • You risk a fine if you cycle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
    • If there is no cycle lane or path, cyclists must use the road. This is in
      contrast to other countries such as Belgium or Germany where cyclists
      share the pavement with pedestrians.

      Right of way

      Many intersections in The Hague have no signs or markings to indicate right of way. In general, all traffic coming from the right, including other cyclists, has right of way. Otherwise, traffic must give way to vehicles crossing in front of them at the “Give Way” sign or with the white, triangular “shark’s teeth” markings on the road surface.

      Drivers wishing to turn right are supposed to wait for cyclists to pass them (on their right) before they turn. Cyclists have priority here. However, with The Hague’s large international community, some drivers may not be aware of the cyclist-friendly rules.

      Beware at intersections

      Be especially cautious at intersections, particularly if you are cycling next to a truck indicating that it will be turning right at the next intersection. Although many trucks have been fitted with special side mirrors to boost the driver’s visibility, bicycle fatalities have occurred when the cyclist enters the driver’s blind spot and the driver simply doesn’t see the cyclist to the right of him.

      Fines for cyclists

      For an overview of the more than 50 fines a cyclist in the Netherlands can incur, go to

      Published: 20 August 2010Modified: 18 January 2019