When roads and railroads are too far away, ferries often provide an alternative in the Netherlands. In many cases, ferries operate exclusively or primarily for cyclists and to a lesser extent for pedestrians. Because of their constant use, cycleways are complete with their own system of traffic signals. These are present at junctions, one set for motorised vehicles and a visually smaller set for cyclists.
Sometimes this is similar to a pelican crossing, where the cyclists wait to cross the junction. These lights come in two forms - firstly the miniature version of the vehicle lights and secondly a regular sized signal with bicycle-shaped cutouts. In many locations more direct cycle routes exist which bypass traffic signals, allowing cyclists to make more efficient journeys than motorists.
Occasionally, cyclists are explicitly allowed to pass a red traffic light if they make a right turn on an intersection. They are also allowed to ignore a red light if they go through the top of a T junction on a cycle path, as there is never interaction between motorists and cyclists, and cyclists can negotiate easily with other cyclists and pedestrians. Signposts take on the form of road signs, with directions stating the distances to nearby cities and towns. Signposts come in two different forms: the common directional signpost which is a miniature version of the vehicle signs and a mushroom-shaped direction post.
The second form is used in the countryside where it is thought to blend in better with its surroundings. Sometimes it can be hard to notice in long grass. In contrast to the signposts for traffic in general, which feature white lettering on a blue background, the signposts for cyclists have red or green lettering on a white background. Red is used for the usual route and green for more scenic routes where mopeds are not allowed. A newer style of "mushroom" has red lettering. When a general white on blue signpost is not applicable for cyclists because it relies on a motorway, this is indicated with a small car sign or a motorway sign behind the name of the destination.
In such cases, a separate signpost for cyclists is usually nearby. Most road signs for cyclists that are used in the Netherlands are universal.
However, some are specific to the country and may even include some Dutch text, e. By policy in the Netherlands, bicycle parking is supposed to be provided next to every shop. Bicycle stands are common around the Netherlands, an alternative to chaining the bike to a post. In most, the front wheel of the bicycle rests on the stand. As bike theft is very common in the Netherlands, cyclists are advised to lock their bicycle with a built-in lock and attach a chain from the bike frame to the stand.
How Amsterdam became the bicycle capital of the world
There are many bicycle parking stations , particularly in city centres and at train stations, some of which hold many thousands of bicycles. Every railway station has a cycle parking attached, and most also offer guarded cycle parking for a nominal fee. Since the start of the 21st century, parking spaces for , bicycles were built and modernized at over train stations, and Dutch railways organizations ProRail and NS are calling for expansion by another , by Most city councils enforce the parking of bicycles in their jurisdictions by regularly removing any bicycles that are not placed in the bike stands.
Bikes for the whole family are readily available for rent across the country and most large towns have bike shops with all the necessary equipment and repair services. Bikes should also come with a lock so as to keep the bike from being stolen. A national scheme, Cycleswap , supports small businesses privately renting bicycles out for short-term use. In recent years Dutch Rail expanded their rental fleet by around bicycles a year to keep up with demand.
However, a surge in demand forced NS to rush order an extra bicycles in The nature of the OV-fiets bike sharing program differs somewhat from that of similar schemes in other countries, partly because of the already high bike ownership of the population. The Dutch system is highly integrated with the public transport network, so that people who cycle to the station in their place of origin can continue traveling by bike from the station of their destination.
For bicycle touring , all Dutch cities can be accessed on the dedicated cycling routes of either the Dutch National Cycle Network — the currently 26 so-called LF-routes — or on the many other regional cycle paths. An average cyclist can typically expect to cover between 15 and 18 kilometres, on average, in an hour by bike throughout most areas of the Netherlands.
There are also comprehensive maps and route planning tools available online or in smartphone and tablet apps. Though the LF-route network is the national cycling route network of the Netherlands, some of its routes extend into the neighbouring countries of Belgium and Germany; the LF1 even extends all the way down the North Sea coast to Boulogne-sur-Mer in France. For cyclists who don't want to explore the Netherlands on their own, there are different tour operators that offer a wide variety of organised cycling holidays.
End of the car age: how cities are outgrowing the automobile
It is possible to take bicycles on trains, aircraft and ferries. Buses, however, will not carry them. Bicycles may be carried on trains under certain conditions. Folding bicycles can be taken more easily than other types as regular bicycles must be placed in designated areas. Taking a folded bicycle inside a train is free, but for unfolded bicycles and regular ones a special ticket is required. In all trains it is prohibited to carry normal size and partly unfolded bikes during peak hours, though this restriction does not apply in the summer in July and August when bikes can be carried for free at any time.
All bicycles are allowed, even a recumbent or a tandem. However, it is prohibited to take a tricycle or a bicycle trailer on trains. Travellers are expected to place their bicycles in the designated areas: blue stickers on or near the doors indicate where they are. Ferries are commonplace in the Netherlands for crossing both rivers and canals, including numerous foot ferries that operate especially for cyclists and foot passengers saving them from making long detours.
There are ferries as well as to the islands in the North Texel , Vlieland , Terschelling , Ameland and Schiermonnikoog.
In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist (P.S.)
It is important to know where ferries are and when they run. Some ferries such as those to Texel,  Vlieland, Terschelling,  Ameland  and Schiermonnikoog  impose an extra charge for bicycles, while others such as those across the IJ in Amsterdam carry bicycles for free. It is possible to take bicycles by air, but the airline's procedures must be followed to pack the bicycle and possibly dismantle it. There may also be extra fees as the bicycle will count as luggage.
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Again, travelling with a foldable bike is easier. Every few years, a jury from the Dutch Fietsersbond Cyclists' Union conducts the Fietsstad awards where a city is bestowed the honour of being a recognised Fietsstad Bicycle City. The main criteria for winning is not which of the competing cities has the best overall cycling environment but rather which city is already great for cycling and has improved their cycling environment even further. As of [update] the cities that have been elected Fietsstad are:   . White bicycles, for free use, in Hoge Veluwe National Park.
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In The City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist | Microcosm Publishing
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