If you are visiting Amsterdam and are not familiar with the number of bikes and cycling infrastructure, you are in for a surprise. The following are some important tips for staying safe as you ride around the city and surrounding region:
While this might seem easy, bike lanes can change where, instead of riding on the right side of the road, you should ride on the opposite side of the street. Or, the bike lane may suddenly become a 2-way bike lane with little warning and cyclists riding in both directions. Whatever the case, just be aware that lanes can change quickly so stay alert and stay in your lane.
Ensure that you follow the rules of the road and watch for signs and lights to make sure you are riding in the right. Signage is very good and most major intersections have separate lights for bike lanes. Following these signs and signals will ensure you don't ride into the path of oncoming cars or trams.
Cars, trucks, scooters, bikes, trams, and trains are just some of the vehicles that share the roads in and around Amsterdam. While many believe that bikes have the right of way, don't take this for granted. With the limited space on some city streets, there is also a tendency for vehicles to park in bike lanes or backup into oncoming traffic so stay alert as you ride through busy, urban areas.
It doesn't take long for it to become clear that the locals do not follow the rules, riding through red lights, in the wrong lanes, and even into oncoming traffic. DO NOT DO AS THE LOCALS. You will find yourself in a bad situation quickly so stay safe and stick to the rules.
Make sure to have a front and back light if you are riding at night or dusk. While there are still generally lots of people riding bikes in the cities at night, it can be difficult for cars, trams, scooters, and pedestrians to see you if you're not well lit. Most city bike routes are well lit at night, however having lights on your bike will help others see you.
Amsterdam is notorious for bike thefts and leaving your bike for an instant unlocked will most certainly leave you vulnerable to having it stolen. Lock your bike using the wheel lock and an additional lock to make it difficult for thieves to steal.