Why Don’t Dutch Cyclists Wear Helmets?



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In the above video, recorded in the Netherlands, I ask Dutch people about the lack of helmet usage when riding a bike. Below I’ve written a concise summary of the answers I got to my questions on the topic.

1. Reasons for Not Wearing a Helmet

Almost all Dutch people I spoke with didn’t feel it was necessary to wear a helmet. Most have never worn one and have managed without any significant incidents.

The general sentiment is that they cycle carefully and are mindful of potential dangers. Some also pointed out that upright Dutch bikes are safer than other types of bikes.

People feel that they are the main road users when cycling in the Netherlands. Biking through traffic, even in busy cities like Amsterdam, is done with confidence and is seen as a result of insight and experience.

2. Happiness and Health Derived from Biking

Using a bike is often a conscious, happy choice. It’s seen as good exercise and a more enjoyable and efficient way to get around, especially in the city. Some expressed that they love cycling and it makes them happy.

When living close to work or other frequented places, biking is the preferred mode of transport.

3. Influence of Weather on Mode of Transport

Weather doesn’t seem to deter biking much. Many people tend to cycle regardless of the conditions and ensure they are prepared for the weather, embodying the “Dutch” spirit of always having a raincoat handy.

4. Deciding Between Using a Car or a Bike

The interviewees mentioned using cars primarily for long distances or when they need to transport large items.

Bikes are used more frequently due to their convenience for short to medium distances and the ease of parking compared to cars.

Some have mentioned that they use the bike 90%, highlighting a significant preference for cycling over driving.

5. International Perspectives

Comparing cycling habits internationally, especially with places like America, revealed that helmet-wearing is more common abroad.

The difference in traffic behavior towards cyclists between the Netherlands and other countries was noted, with one pointing out that in the Netherlands, car drivers usually have a cycling background, making them more empathetic and aware of cyclists on the road.