Amsterdam is considered to be the world’s cycling capital. Did you know that there are more bikes than people in the Netherlands? Statistically, each resident of Amsterdam owns at least 1.5 bikes. Almost everyone knows how and does ride a bicycle in Amsterdam – no matter the age and social status. There are over 881,000 bikes in Amsterdam. Many Amsterdammers just decided not to have a car. Not only for fitness/economic reasons, but this is just by choice. Not only is cycling cheap, convenient and safe, it’s also eco too. On any working day between 8:00 and 09:00 in the morning almost two million bikers will be on Dutch roads!
Cycling is probably the best way to explore Amsterdam. There are cycling paths everywhere in the Netherlands. They are clearly marked so you won’t be able to miss it.
Before visiting Amsterdam, learn some cycling tips which will be extremely useful, especially if you are visiting the Netherlands for the first time. Here are the most useful tips for cycling in Amsterdam:
- You can rent a bike in almost every corner in the city center of Amsterdam, but we highly recommend you to rent a bike from reliable rental companies with a good reputation. Don’t go cheap when it comes to bike rental. It’s better to buy insurance for your bike to make sure that your bike will be fixed in case something happens to it. Do not hesitate to ask our staff for recommendations!
- It’s also good to have brightly coloured rental bikes or any other distinguishing marks which will tell other riders that you are not local. Even if you find it a little embarrassing, it will generally give you a chance to feel more confident on the cycling roads as the local riders will be more tolerant towards your cycling techniques.
- Make sure you have lights on your bike. It’s illegal to not have your bike lights on at night.
- Stay right on the cycling paths. Whether you’re on a bike path or on a road stay as far right as you can in order to let other bikes, mopeds or cars pass you.
- Do not be afraid of the ringing bicycle bells. It is just the way of letting the front rider know that someone is coming from behind. If you hear the constant fast ringing it means that someone asks you to keep right so they can pass you.
- This is one of the most important things to know about biking in Amsterdam. To signal that you’re turning left or right, you’ll want to put your arm out to notify others that you’ll be turning at the next intersection.
- Always stop at red lights and stop signs. Sometimes you will see that some cyclists ignore the signs and the traffic lights, but it’s not only dangerous, but you can also get a big fine for it.
- If you see zebra stripes (a pedestrian crosswalk), you’re supposed to stop and let the pedestrians pass.
- Be careful crossing the tram lines as many tourists get stuck in the tram lines with their wheels which eventually ends in falling down in the middle of the road. Sometimes it can cause really bad injuries. Cross the tram lines diagonally so your wheels won’t have any chance to get into the tram lines.
- “Uitgezondered” sign under the stop sign means you can go down that road if you’re on a bike.
- Do not leave your bike unlocked. Wherever you go, always lock your bike through something stable. Bike theft is very common in Amsterdam. So, keep this in mind when you leave your bike outside.
- Respect no-bikes zones like sidewalks and pedestrian only zones. If you’re on the sidewalk, walk your bike otherwise you can be fined.
- Do not forget that the Netherlands is a country with a lot of rain. Although most of the locals hold an umbrella in one hand during cycling, we highly recommend you not to do that, as it can be dangerous for inexperienced riders. Buy yourself a rain poncho which can be extremely useful during rain.
- Do not ride the bike if you had alcohol or smoked weed. First of all, it is illegal. Second, the odds of getting into a bike accident while biking drunk increase by 500% compared to biking sober.
- Don’t put on headphones while cycling – you need to hear what’s around you.
- Do not take photos or videos while cycling. You can cause dangerous situations on the road or can be hit by other riders.
- If you are travelling with kids, rent a bike with a special kids basket which also has safety belts. If your children are in their pre-teens you can rent a family bike to make sure that your child is safe.
- If you hit someone with your bike or got hit, you’re obligated to stop.
- Not all streets in Amsterdam are meant for cyclists. Use google maps to plan your route and in any case do not cycle on the highway!