13 x Do’s and Don’ts of Biking in Amsterdam

Wondering how to ride a bike in Amsterdam? Here are 13 do’s and don’ts to safely explore the city.

Are you planning to explore Amsterdam on a bike and looking for the best tips? As locals deeply rooted in this bike-friendly city, we’ve pedaled through the canals, winding streets and vibrant neighborhoods for many years. Let us guide you through the do’s and don’ts of biking in Amsterdam. It may seem a bit overwhelming at first, just stick to these dos and don’ts and you’ll be fine! With our tips, you’ll navigate the city on two wheels like a true Amsterdammer.

We’ve carefully put together this list. It includes local biking regulations, traffic etiquette and our own experiences navigating the streets.

1. Do Rent a Bike

Do as the locals do – rent a bike. With countless bike rental shops across the city, finding one is easy and a super fun way of exploring. Go for a well-maintained bike and consider renting a lock to keep your ride secure when you’re not in the saddle.

Rental bikes of Mac Bike
© Mac Bike

TIP >> Rent one in advance to ensure a smoother day ahead. You can secure a bike rental here.

2. Don’t Ignore Traffic Signals

While it might seem like an open invitation to cruise through, ignoring traffic signals is a big no-no. Red means stop, green means go and obeying these signals keeps both you and everyone around safe. 

Red traffic light for bikes in Amsterdam

3. Do Use Hand Signals

Communicate your intentions with clear hand signals. Extend your left arm out to indicate a left turn and your right arm for a right turn. Simple and effective.

4. Don’t Use Your Phone

Texting while biking is not only dangerous but also illegal. Keep your phone in your pocket or bag while biking in Amsterdam to stay safe and avoid fines.

5. Do Give Right of Way

Cyclists coming from the right have the right of way, so keep an eye out for them at intersections.

6. Don’t Ride on the Sidewalk

Stick to the bike lanes. Riding on the sidewalk is not only inconsiderate but can result in fines.

Bikelane in Amsterdam

7. Do Mind the Tram Tracks

It happened to the best. Amsterdam’s tram system crisscrosses the city and their tracks can be a real hazard for cyclists. Because of the tracks, your wheel can get stuck while biking. To avoid ending up where you don’t belong :), cross tram tracks at an angle!

8. Don’t Drink and Bike

Just as you wouldn’t drink and drive, the same rules apply to biking. Alcohol impairs your judgment and reaction time, so save the drinks for after you’ve parked your bike.

9. Do Lock Your Bike

Amsterdam’s status as the bicycle theft capital of the world is not one to be proud of. Lock your bike securely to a designated rack, preferably using two locks: a sturdy chain lock and a frame lock.

10. Don’t Rush

Amsterdam isn’t the city for speedy cycling. Keep a moderate pace, especially in crowded areas. Rushing can lead to accidents and close calls.

11. Do Use Your Biking Bell

 A handy tool for alerting people around you. Your biking bell is an essential part of cycling etiquette in Amsterdam. Use it to signal your approach, especially in crowded areas and along shared paths.

12. Don’t Bike During Rush Hour 

Avoid taking your bike out during the hectic rush hour, typically between 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM. The streets can be jam-packed, making it less enjoyable and safe for cycling.

13. Do Park Your Bike Right

Ensure your bicycle is parked in a designated bike parking area, rack, or an indoor parking facility. Bikes left outside of these approved zones might find themselves temporarily stored in the Bicycle Depot. You need to pay a fine to get your bike back. 

Lots of parked bicycles at Amsterdam Central Station

The bottom line

Biking in Amsterdam can be an amazing adventure, but it’s important to follow some simple rules to stay safe and ensure everyone enjoys their ride. Remember, be respectful to other riders, walkers and obey the rules. So, grab a bike, explore the beautiful streets and join in on the fun of cycling in Amsterdam.

Looking for the ultimate local experience? You may have seen it, but we looove drive around on fat bikes. Book your 2-hour guided electric fat bike tour here. Or want to follow our self made route through the city? Download our free guide on how to spend the best day in the city.

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