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The Truth about Bikes in Amsterdam

What would the city of Amsterdam be without its Rembrandts, canals…and bikes?

Our answer, frankly, is safer: bikes can hurt you. They go super-fast. Their riders are trying to get to school, to work, to the store before it closes—and you are in their way. Yes, we’re using tough love on you, but it’s better if you know that bikes are serious business for the Dutch—and for foreigners who have “gone native.”

All of this means your mission is clear: when walking around Amsterdam, stick to the sidewalks and the crosswalks, and don’t enter the danger zone: the bicycle paths.

“What the heck’s the difference between the sidewalk and the bicycle path?” you may ask.

Funny you should ask: sometimes, they’re practically the same color—brick-red—which is confusing. All the more reason to WATCH OUT: look both ways, cross the street only at the crosswalk, and for heaven’s sake, don’t treat the bike lane like a pedestrian zone.

Which begs the question: should you rent a bike in Amsterdam? Only if you own a bicycle at home or have ridden a bike in the past 3 months, and, well, if you know where you’re going. You’re welcome.

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