|Authors:||Paul Schepers, D. Twisk, E. Fishman, Aslak Fyhri, A. Jensen|
Many governments attempt to improve cycling safety to reduce the number of bicycle crashes and encourage people to take up cycling. The Netherlands is a world leader in bicycle use and safety. This paper explores how the Netherlands achieved an 80% reduction in the number of cyclists killed (predominantly bicycle‐motor vehicle crashes) per billion bicycle kilometres over a thirty year period. Factors found to contribute to this improvement include the establishment of a road hierarchy with large traffic‐calmed areas where through traffic is kept out. A heavily used freeway network shifts motor vehicles from where cycling levels are high. This reduces exposure to high‐speed motor vehicles. Separated bicycle paths and intersection treatments decrease the likelihood of bicycle‐motor vehicle crashes. The high amount of bicycle use increases safety as a higher bicycle modal share corresponds with a lower share of driving and greater awareness of cyclists among drivers. Low cycling speed was also found to contribute to the high level of cycling safety in the Netherlands.