Utrecht is a city that actively promotes cycling, so what better way of getting around than by bike. Unfortunately, bicycle theft and vandalism are a real issue. So use a guarded bike parking facility when possible. There are several of them in the centre of Utrecht.
Signposts point the way to the free guarded bike parking facilities in Utrecht. Photo © Holland-Cycling.com
Where to park your bicycle
Basically you're allowed to park your bicycle anywhere, as long as there are no signs saying it's a no bike parking area and your bike is not in other people's way. Unfortunately, bicycle theft and vandalism are common occurrences in Holland. So look carefully where you leave your bike and lock your bike at all times.
Utrecht has a strict bike parking policy. Signs indicate where it's forbidden to leave your bike. Look out for signs saying Verboden fietsen te plaatsen (Forbidden to park bikes). In the city centre you'll find Fiets parkeren signs (Bicycle Parking signs). In this zone there are extra rules for parking your bike. The right way to park your bike is:
- in the designated bike racks, bike parking spaces or bike parking facilities
- not to block entrances or passageways
- not to leave your bike in one place for longer than 14 days
Be warned: wrongly and dangerously parked bikes, abandoned bikes and bikes left in one place for longer than 14 days in the city centre or 28 days in the rest of Utrecht may be removed by the police. To retrieve your bike, you need to go to the Gemeentelijk fietsendepot (Council Bicycle Depot), where you'll have to pay a small fine. For more information on where and how to collect your bike, go to the Utrecht City Council website (in Dutch only).
Unfortunately, bicycle theft is a common occurrence in Holland. Every year, hundreds of thousands of bicycles are stolen - especially in the big cities. Whether you’re just popping into a shop or enjoying refreshments on a terrace, leaving your bicycle unlocked is never an option. Anybody might grab your bike and cycle off and rest assured: somebody will.
If you're bringing your own bike to Utrecht, make sure it has good locks (preferably two) and use them at all times. Here are some top tips from the police for preventing bike theft.
Guarded bicycle parking
Bike theft is a real issue in the centre of Utrecht. Even if you've locked you bike properly, you might find it missing on your return. Especially if you have an expensive bike, or depend on it for your holiday, it's advisable to use one of the guarded bike parking facilities. It is not possible to book a place in advance.
Utrecht City Council provides guarded bike parking which is free of charge for the first 24 hours. After that you pay a small fee. The Utrecht City Council website has an interactive map with the guarded bike parking facilities in the centre of Utrecht. The website is in Dutch, but it's useful even if you don't understand the language. Just click on the bike parking facility you're interested in for a pop-up with the opening hours. If the facility is free of charge, it will say 'deze stalling is gratis' (this bike parking facility is free of charge). Otherwise click on 'Tarief en abonementen' (Fees and subscriptions) to find out the costs.
For more on bicycle parking in Holland, go to: Bicycle parking.