Bicycle Statistics, A Question And The Answers
July 5, 2008, 3:48 pm
Filed under: amsterdamize, news | Tags: , , ,

The Netherlands
Population: 16,5 million
Bikes: 18 million
New bikes sold a year: 1.7 million 
Bikes stolen a year: between 1.2 and 1.4 million

But the number of bikes in the Netherlands has been at that level, thus stable for years, so what explains this gap? According to the chairman of the Dutch Bicycle Union it boils down to this: 

  • broken bikes are taken off the streets by city services
  • abandoned bikes are taken off the streets to be recycled. Read: shredded.
  • illegally parked bikes are taken off the streets and are registered to be picked up by the rightful owners, but that hardly ever happens. If so, they are shredded, including perfectly new bikes. Suggestion: resell them.
  • Gangs in vans drive around neighborhoods, pick up parked & locked bikes and drive them abroad to be sold. Mostly in Germany and Belgium. It sounds odd, but I’ve experienced the bad end result of this twice myself.

[Update: a related story]

5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hi, I really don’t wanna bother you, but I’m curious about the translation of what the sign really means … I’m asking about the words, I get the meaning (because of your post) if you can help me, it would be appreciated, I’m trying to learn a few words in dutch. That’s just my way of being a future tourist!!!

Comment by manon

In Amsterdam they will be resold if they are not picked up after 3 months. I don’t know if they still auction them of in batches or that they are sold for a fixed price. They also sell them to some student union so that students can buy bikes legally for cheap. Around 45 euro I think.

Comment by Son of Shaft

1.7 million sold, and 1.2 million stolen? Are these statistics based on thefts reported to police? Wow.

I live in a hilly city, so bikes are traditionally less popular here. Ever since gasoline topped $4.oo per gallon, (cheap compared to Europe, I know) bicycles and Vespas have been selling briskly. Meanwhile, thieves in vans are stealing copper, including copper plumbing pipe ripped out of unoccupied houses. More profit, apparently, than from stealing bikes.

Comment by davidcarney

@Manon: top line: Verboden= forbidden fietsen=bicycles (te) plaatsen: to place => Forbidden to place/park bicycles.
Wegknipregeling is a (double)compound word. wegknippen= to cut away weg=gone/away and several other meanings. knippen= to cut. regeling=measure/arrangement

Comment by Son of Shaft

thanks for answering that bit, Son of Shaft, I digg it :).

@davidcarney: yes, they are based on reported thefts…and the latest figure on that is that only about 1 in 4 people take the trouble of doing so and/or believe it will make a difference (I don’t). So the real statistics are certainly way higher.

Copper theft, yeah, heard of that too, mainly from houses in development. Good to hear bike and Vespa sales are up, but didn’t expect anything else, really.

Comment by amsterdamize

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