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Motorways for cyclists - Bicycle expressways for pedelecs

A network of new bicycle expressways is now being created in the Netherlands, aimed particularly at convincing commuters who travel less than 15 km to switch from the car to a bicycle or pedelec.

Bicycle expressways sound like a cyclist’s dream: no junctions or traffic lights, smooth asphalt, 4 m wide lanes, plus wind barriers on bridges and even roofing on particularly exposed stretches. And the planned infrastructure for ‘bicycle motorways’ also foresees charging stations for electric bikes and mobile repair services.

The routes lead from suburbs to the town centres. In total 16 such highways are planned, with a budget of € 21,000,000, financed through the Netherlands Ministry for Infrastructure. A further € 60,000,000 will be contributed by the regions and communities involved.

Key Criteria for Bicycle Expressways

  • Fast: zero or short waiting times at junctions or lights
  • Comfortable: smooth asphalt and lighting
  • Attractive: routes pass though the countryside
  • Integrated: routes are linked into personal public
    transport systems
Target Groups
Fundamentally the bicycle highways are ratcheting up competition with the car. Target groups might be commuters with journeys of under 15 km, teachers and students, workers or simply cyclists.

Pedelec riders are the most obvious target audience, because they are often previously car drivers for whom only an electric bike, not a conventional one, is seen as worth considering. Furthermore, the bicycle expressways might have been purpose made for the higher average speed of pedelecs and fast pedelecs.

(Social) Benefits of Bicycle Expressways
A study by Goudappel Coffeng shows that bicycle expressways can benefit mobility, the economy, health and the climate.
  • Fast cycle routes lead to fewer car journeys and so can save up to 80,000,000 kg of CO2 emissions
  • Cycling is healthy. Bicycle expressways could save the health system € 100,000,000 in costs
  • 15,000 hours of travel time per day could be saved by faster cycling, worth € 40,000,000 per year
  • Car journeys could be reduced by 1 % and cycling increased by 1.5 % with bicycle expressways
Do It Yourself
  • Improve existing cycle routes with asphalt
  • Build new cycle routes while e.g. constructing or
    dismantling roads
  • Widen existing paths
  • Provide cyclists priority at junctions
  • Provide junction designs safe for cyclists
  • Provide safe and plentiful parking
  • Do not invest in road building for cars: look to the future.
>> 1st Electric Freeway for e-Bikes & e-Scooters

Text:, prepared within the EU GoPedelec! project: GoPedelec! Handbook (German version)

>> Go Pedelec! Handbook in Czech, Dutch, English, Hungarian, and Italian

Pictogram: Moritz Grünke (

Online release: Angela Budde

22 January 2013





7 - 12 September 2021, IAA, Munich, Testtrack