How much are motorcycles used in the Netherlands?


Approximately 1.4 million people in the Netherlands have a motorcycle licence (2016; source: RDW), but less than half of these own a motorcycle: there are 656,000 registered motorcycles. On average these motorcycle owners travel 1,200 to 3,400 km per year (assuming 0.8 or 2.2 billion kilometres travelled[i] / 656,000 motorcycles respectively). As on average a motorcyclist travels only few kilometres per year, he or she hardly builds up routine. In 2016, almost 70% of the registered motorcycles in the Netherlands were owned by persons between 30 and 59 years-old (Figure 2).

Compared to other European countries the Netherlands is in the middle bracket concerning the possession of motorcycles: in 2016, there were almost 39 motorcycles per 1,000 inhabitants in the Netherlands.[ii] Of all European counties motorcycle possession is highest in Greece with 100 motorcycles per 1,000 inhabitants; in Bulgaria motorcycle possession is lowest with 9 motorcycles per 1,000 inhabitants [2].

Figure 2. Motorcycle possession in the Netherlands by age of the owner, cylinders and cylinder capacity. Source: CBS (1 January 2017).

[i] There are different series of data on the annual distance travelled by motorcyclists. According to the mobility surveys OVG/MON/OViN the kilometres travelled by motorcycles decreased from 1.8 billion km in 1993 to around 0.8 billion km in 2015. According to a Panel Survey of the CBS, on the other hand, the distance travelled by motorcyces in this period increased from 1.3 to 2.2 billion km [1]. Although these estimates vary greatly, the share of the motorcycle in the number of kilometres travelled can be estimated at a maximum of one and a half percent.

[ii] 655.991 motorcycles / 16.979.120 inhabitants

Part of fact sheet


In 2015, 47 motorcyclists died in traffic in the Netherlands.

Would you like to cite this fact sheet?