Off your bike: Leiden tops list for bike accidents

Photo: Brandon Hartley

Leiden is the most dangerous city for cyclists, insurance comparison site Independer has found.

National accident numbers vary greatly, an analysis of police and Rijkswaterstaat data showed. Of the 15,000 (e) bike accidents reported in 2021, some 4,500 took place in the province of Zuid-Holland alone, with Leiden as an accident hotspot.

“There are some 23.2 accidents involving bicycles per 10,000 inhabitants every year in Leiden, almost three times the national average of 8.5. Wassenaar, too, stands out with 21.2,” insurance expert Menno Dijcks told the Telegraaf.

Chair of the Leiden cyclists union Peter Rumler said the city’s bad score is not down to a lack of facilities for bikers but people’s behaviour. “Leiden local council is spending millions in safer bike routes and limiting the number of cars,” he told the paper. “The problem is not the infrastructure but individual behaviour. Leiden is a busy student city and students aren’t always the best cyclists.”

Some 2,000, or 15% of the total number of bike accidents involved electric bikes, including “fat” bikes, the Dutch term for vehicles with thicker tyres and bodies. “Doctored fatbikes can go as fast as 45 k/ph. Other cyclists are often startled by the speed differences, for instance if they want to turn off and underestimate the speed of oncoming bikes,” Dijcks said.

The electric bicycles with wide tyres are an increasingly popular mode of transport in the Netherlands, especially among young people who do not want to wear a helmet on a moped – which has become compulsory this year.

Motoring association ANWB recently announced it would stop insuring the bikes because so many are being stolen that it has become uneconomical, which may further limit their use.

The safest province for cyclists is Drenthe with just 4.7 accidents for every 10,000 inhabitants.

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