Riding your bike in Amsterdam is probably the most stereotypical thing you can do here. And you know what? That's fine! Despite how touristy it may seem, riding a bike is what practically everyone does in Amsterdam. Locals do it too, you know! But perhaps, since they live here, they do it a little differently than tourists. They're slightly smarter about it, hence, they're able to go about their day on their bikes up until the sun goes down. But how do they do it? Well, here are five important tips to remember so you can ride your bike in Amsterdam like the Dutch!
Don't Copy The Dutch
You already know how the Dutch can be pretty liberal and nonchalant, right? Well, that applies to riding a bike too. More often than not, some of the locals in Amsterdam don't follow the road rules when they're cycling. Many don't care about the traffic lights, some don't stop at stop signs, and there are others who will ever go out of the bike lane. Now, for them, they may be able to get away with it simply because they've been doing it for so long, they're able to evade the authorities. But for you, who's only visiting, it's better to follow the road rules properly. Even if you've moved to Amsterdam
yourself, it's still better to follow the rules!
Always Use Hand Signals
Signals are very important when you're on the road. They're important when driving but especially when you're riding a bike. Here in Amsterdam, since there are so many cyclists around, your hand signals are your only form of communication. When you want to turn, extend your arm out to let other riders know. When you want to stop, before hitting the brakes, make sure you either raise your hand or copy the hand stop symbol. Letting others know what you're about to do helps everyone avoid accidents which, in turn, makes for a more peaceful bike ride!
Use Your Bell
Lanes are pretty important in Amsterdam. While you're riding your bike, you're expected to stay in the bike lane and avoid venturing off into the pedestrian lanes and the like. At the same time, pedestrians ought not to walk on your side of the street, right? But how do you tell them to step aside? With your bell! As far as social customs
here go, ringing your bell is enough to let them know that they should get out of your way. Don't try screaming at them because, not only is it rude, but the Dutch are naturally loud speakers too so they might not understand you.
Park Your Bike Properly
Speaking of the appropriate lane, or in this instance, the appropriate place, make sure to park your bikes properly! Amsterdam has a ton of designated areas where you can and should park your bike. Don't just leave your two-wheeler just anywhere and hope to still find it when you come back. And at the same time, when you do park your bike, make sure you secure it with two locks. It's better if one of them is a wheel lock so you can lessen the risk of getting stolen while you're away.
Avoid Rush Hour
And finally, a tip that will save you a lot of trouble: avoid rush hour! Rush hour in Amsterdam is around 7:00 am to 9:00 am in the morning and mid-17:00 (5:00) pm to 18:30 (6:30) pm in the evening. During these times, it's best not to take your bike out for a ride. The street will be filled with cars, buses, trams, and more, so much so that some of them will even spill unto the bike lanes too. If you're one to take your bike out for public transport
, go take another system instead!
Biking in Amsterdam is fun and don't let anyone tell you otherwise! Sure, it's touristy and admittedly, a little cliché, but at the end of the day, it's up to you how you want to spend your time in the Dutch capital. And if you want to ride your bike, do it the smart way!
After a day of cycling around Amsterdam, you'll want to retreat back to your luxury home
for some much-deserved rest and relaxation!