Amsterdam is famous as one of the more beautiful cyclist’s havens in Europe. That said, for the average tourist who is not used to cycling their way around the place, there are a few things to know and remember before they go renting a bicycle. Sure the city has wide and separated bike lanes, but those are generally crowded with electric mopeds, other cyclists, trams, pigeons, and even pedestrians. To stay on the safe side, you need to be well aware of the things that go, and more importantly, those that do not.
There are many cyclists that use these, and almost just as many that do not. It goes without saying is best if you fell in the former group. Basically, you need to refrain from turning or stopping without having given off hand signals first, because there are always sufficient numbers of cyclists passing through who could plow into you otherwise. There is no need for fancy official signals either; just point with your right hand to the right before turning in that direction, and similarly for the left side. Before stopping, point down with the left hand and hold the palm facing to your back, and make sure you do not stop too suddenly.
Stopping at Crosswalks
As you tour Amsterdam, you are bound to notice that the bike lanes are like mini roads, in that the rules are close to the same as you have while driving. When you see people waiting to cross before an intersection, it is accepted that you will stop and let them pass. There will be cyclists who do not do this, which means you will also need to signal that you are about to stop.
Riding on the Right
Visitors to Amsterdam who opt for cycling its streets are almost invariably slower than the local cyclists, which makes sticking to the right of the lane is easier and safer for the former. There is one exception to this though; if you are going down a bike lane which has cars parked to its right, then holding to the center is safer all things considered – you do not want a collision if one of the drivers suddenly opens his or her doors right in the thick of bicycle traffic.
These are just a few of the things to keep in mind when you venture out on a bicycle to take in the wonderful city of Amsterdam. On top of these, make sure to yield to crossing bicycle traffic at intersections at times when you are not sure who actually has the right of way.