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!
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.
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 the instructions given by the police.
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 the right of way. But this shouldn’t be taken for granted.
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.
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.
2. Keep the cycle-free areas in mind
In front of Central Station and down the Leidsestraat is a pedestrian-only area. And there are more areas like this in the city, e.g.: Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein and Waterlooplein are also cycle-free areas.
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 each other. 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).
6. Keep your 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 here are five 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!
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.’
10. Technical do's & don’ts
- Turn on your headlight and taillight 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’).
Get info on locking & parking
Watch our safe cycling video
Overview: 10 rules for safe cycling
- Stay on the right path.
- Keep the cycle-free areas in mind.
- Don’t imitate the locals.
- Avoid being an obstruction for other traffic.
- Give right of way to taxis, trams and buses.
- Keep you mobile phone in your pocket.
- Cross the tram rails at a steep angle.
- Only park your bike where it is allowed.
- Always lock your bike.
- Use your light, bell and luggage rack in the right way.
Safe cycling = happy cycling!