Safe Cycling

Cycling in the city can be hectic, especially if you’re not used to Amsterdam-style traffic! Here are 10 golden rules to keep in mind when you rent a bike. Because safe cycling is happy cycling!

10 Safe Cycling Rules

① Stay on the right path

Always stay on the right-hand side of the road. If present: use the bicycle lane or track marked out by white lines and bike symbols. Do not cycle on footpaths, shopping streets, pavements or highways.

Bicycle lane: sign on the street

② Keep the cycle-free areas in mind

In front of Central Station and down the Leidsestraat is pedestrian-only area.  And there are more areas like this in the city, e.g.: Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein and Waterlooplein are also cycle-free areas.

Where to cycle in Amsterdam

③ Don’t imitate the locals ツ

Do not behave like many people in Amsterdam: hurrying through the city, and not giving right of way, charging through red lights or cycling through pedestrian areas. Disregarding the rules could cost you a fine.

  • Stop for red (cycle) traffic lights.
  • Stop for a pedestrian crossing if someone passes
  • Always follow instructions given by the police.
Beatles crossing a pedestrian crossing

④ Avoid being an obstruction for other traffic

  • Look before you leap – so don’t turn or stop suddenly.
  • Let others know what you’re planning to do – use hand signals and make eye contact.
  • Don’t dart out from between parked vehicles.
  • Be aware of trams and taxis (they often have right of way).
  • White triangles (shark teeth) marked on the road means: you have to give right of way to the traffic on the street you are approaching.
  • Always keep your eyes on the road, about 50m in front of you, so you can anticipate: be aware of other road users.
  • Don’t cycle next to eachother. Cycle in a row behind one another.
  • Keep enough space between you and the person in front of you.
  • Stay behind trucks: do not cycle or wait next to a truck (avoid a blind angle).

Show where you go by pointing left or right

Shark teeth pointing at you?
Give way

shark teeth icons on the street

⑤ Give right of way to taxis & trams

Always give right of way to taxis, trams and buses. Yield to all traffic approaching from the right, unless otherwise indicated. This also means that traffic from your left-hand side should give you right of way. But this shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Tram in Amsterdam

⑥ Keep you mobile phone in your pocket

  • Do not cycle with earphones in.
  • Using your phone or selfie stick while biking is NOT allowed. You risk a 95 Euro fine. So  5 things to avoid:
    1) Don’t send your friend a WhatsApp ?
    2) Don’t shuffle on your playlist ?
    3) Don’t call your mum ?
    4) Don’t look at Google Maps ?
    5) Don’t take Selfies ?

    But hey: Biking is still amazeballs! ?

Make nice pics☺…
But only after you’ve stepped off your bike!

⑦ Tram rails? Make a steep angle.

Watch out that your wheels don’t get stuck in the tram rails. You have to cross them at a steep angle. It’s not difficult. But it might give you a comfortable feeling to practice crossing an (imaginary) tram rails on a quiet part, before you head into the city center.

Tramrails with green line to show how to cross

⑧ Only park your bike where it is allowed

Do not park on the road or in the path of pedestrians. Also do not park your bike in front of Central Station or on Dam Square. Your bike will be removed if you don’t park it in the designated parking spots.
Parking spots are everywhere in town. Take note of the signs that say ‘no parking’ or ‘allowed to park’.
Download our leaflet with info on locking & parking >>

Do not park your bicycle where you see these signs

No parking signs for bicycles

⑨ Always lock your bike

Never leave your bike unlocked. Lock your bike to a bike rack, using two locks: one through the back wheel, and one around the frame plus through the front wheel. Do not leave anything behind on your bicycle.

Download our leaflet with info on locking & parking of your bike >>


Lock through front wheel & frame

⑩ Technical do‘s & don’ts

  • Turn on your headlight and tail light after dark.
  • Do not lift anyone on your bicycle. Your luggage carrier is only for luggage.
  • Use your bell if necessary (in a modest way).
  • If you have a flat tyre, head for the nearest bicycle shop (‘fietsenmaker’) or simply ask someone for a bicycle pump (‘fietspomp’).

Watch our safe cycling video

Too much text? We made a video to show you all the rules and make sure you are safe when you ride a bike in Amsterdam. If you still have questions after watching this video, do not hesitate to contact us:

Cover of the leaflet 'How to cycle safely in Amsterdam

10 rules for safe cycling – overview

  1. Stay on the right path.
  2. Keep the cycle-free areas in mind.
  3. Don’t imitate the locals.
  4. Avoid being an obstruction for other traffic.
  5. Give right of way to taxis, trams and buses.
  6. Keep you mobile phone in your pocket.
  7. cross the tram rails at a steep angle.
  8. Only park your bike where it is allowed.
  9. Always lock your bike
  10. Use your light, bell and luggage rack in the right way.

Safe cycling = happy cycling

Slow bike winner Daniel
MacBike Academy presents

Safe Cycling Lessons

By the name of MacBike Academy, we organized a ‘safe cycling event’ in the summer of 2018: a fun and educational event with focus on safety.
Watch the video of the Safe Cycling Event:

A lesson consisted of three parts:

  • a bike quiz – focus on the rules
  • a short cycle route with special operations – focus on practice
  • a slow biking route – focus on the technics of cycling

Our customers plus random passers-by could attend the lessons. The attendees received a certificate afterwards when they had participated in all parts of the cycling lessons.

The lessons were held on Sunday morning from 10 – 12 o’clock on the Oosterdokskade. On average there were about 40 participants per morning.

Why Safe Cycling Lessons?

We think it’s importance for our guests to be able to move around the city in a safe and flexible way. Also we want to stimulate cycling in Amsterdam permanently.

Besides being a means to bring the rules to the attention of our guests, it was also a gesture towards the city of Amsterdam. As an incentive to improve safe bicycle traffic.

Decades ago MacBike was the first to publish the brochure ‘Safe cycling’, which was later adopted by the municipality. In the following years MacBike also developed an instructional video about safe cycling. With the cycling lesson of this summer we have taken a next step.

Two attendees of the cycle lessons with their Safe Cycling Certificate