Dutch Bicycle Rules
Experience Amsterdam and rent a bike! Pedal around town for a few hours and feel like a local. Biking in Amsterdam is safe and easy because Amsterdam is as flat as a pancake, no elevations apart from picturesque humpback bridges. Observe the bicycle rules and do not imitate the locals who often jump red lights and ride their bikes on the wrong side of the road.
Amsterdam – Bicycles galore
Amsterdam-Now tip: Go on a guided bicycle tour for the true Dutch bike experience.
Dutch Bicycle Rules
1. Use the fietspad whenever there is one. If there is no fietspad keep to the right and ride with the traffic. Never ride your bike on the pavement.
2. Obey the bike traffic lights which show a red, yellow or green bicycle. Cars and trams have their own lights which may not correspond with the bike lights. When there is no special bike light use the one meant for cars
3. Bikes are allowed to turn to the right when the traffic lights are red. You will often see: rechtsaf toegestaan meaning right turn is allowed.
4. Give right of way to traffic approaching you from the right.
5. Traffic from the left must give you right of way, but this rule is not always observed by buses and cars.
6. Trams have always right of way. Cross the tram tracks at a sharp angle otherwise you’ll get stuck as the rails have the same size as your bike tyre.
7. Use hand signals when turning to the left or right, but the Dutch hardly ever do this.
8. Ring your bell when (tourist) pedestrians amble on the bike lane.
9. Always lock your bike, preferably to a permanent structure such as a lamp post, bridge railings or a bike rack. Use a heavy chain and put it through the frame and front wheel.
11. Obey the sign that says: Hier geen fietsen plaatsen. Don’t place bicycles here. If you ignore this, you bicycle will be confiscated by the police.
12. And finally, never imitate the Dutch who zigzag through the traffic, give no hand signals and jump the lights. They are most likely more experienced than you. Their biking career started at the age of four or five. It takes a few years to be proficient. Once you have mastered all tricks, you can go Dutch.
Did you know that three thousand bikes are stolen in the Netherlands every day? If all sixteen million Dutch people had a bike, this would mean that each of them has a bike stolen every six years.
Just a word of very important advice, make sure you remember where you parked your bike and lock it. No, ALWAYS lock it, even if you leave it for a short moment to snap a photo. (Bike insurance doesn’t cover bikes that are left with the key inside the lock. If your rented bike is stolen, you will have to show the key. If you own a bike and it is insured, you will have to show your key and the spare one).
photo credit Marianne Crone