Cycling rule number 1
Keep to the right side. We don’t drive on the left with our cars, so our bikes don’t do that either. Don’t be that douche.
Cycling rule number 2
Do NEVER pause all a sudden when you are riding your bike. Always look first. It baffles me when I see how often people stop in the middle of a bike path. What were you thinking? You need to see a bike as you would see a car in, for instance, the U.S.A. Do you brake all a sudden in your car without looking? I hope the answer is no. Then, in that case, you shouldn’t do that on a bike either. Cyclists ride close together, so unless you want everyone to crash into you don’t do this.
Cycling rule number 3
Following cycling rule number 2, don’t stop in the middle of a cycle path to check your map or phone. You will be cursed at with every disease there is out there and definitely, don’t make any local friends.
Cycling rule number 4
Don’t cycle with two aside if there is no space to overtake for other cyclists or scooters. That’s rude. And annoying. You will see Dutch people often riding like this (guilty), but, we know how the traffic works and can move freely wherever we cycle because we can adapt quickly.
Cycling rule number 5
Look behind you when you want to turn into another street and put out your arm and finger to the right or left so people know where you are going. It’s all about adapting and communication in our cycling world.
Cycling rule number 6
Don’t ride in the opposite direction on a cycle path. Besides keeping yourself safe, you will also keep the pedestrians safe as some don’t check both ways.
Cycling rule number 7
If you are cycling in the dark, in the fog or when visibility is bad to make sure you have lights that actually work. If you don’t have them, go to the Hema store, any supermarket or street market and buy one for a few euros. You need to have a red light at the back and a white or yellow in front. If you refuse to buy a light, there are big chances that the police will give you a fine and I know you would rather use that money to buy stroopwafels. You’re welcome. The lights have to shine straight ahead and flashing lights are not allowed. They also need to visible, so don’t put them somewhere that wouldn’t make sense.
Cycling rule number 8
When you are cycling in a national park or a small village, everyone will say hello or good morning to each other. No one does this in big cities, but you will be rude to not say hello back.
Cycling rule number 9
Cycling if you are drunk or stoned is not a good idea. Cycling after drinking alcohol is actually not allowed and police will test you if you ride like a complete fool. And those fines aren’t cheap.
Cycling rule number 10
Ride on the bike path. There is a bike path for a reason, so don’t cycle on the sidewalk or on a pedestrian path.
Cycling rule number 11
A bicycle bell makes life easier. Don’t yell if you want to pass someone but use the bell. And, most importantly, respond to someone else when they use their bell. Move aside, there is a reason they use it. Don’t start ringing your bell at random, this makes a lot of locals very annoyed because they are not used to have fun with. They are used to warn people that someone wants to overtake.
Cycling rule number 12
If you are cycling in a city that has a tram line, such as Amsterdam, cross it diagonally. Always. Otherwise, your wheel gets stuck in one of them and you will fall as your bike simply stops. Those crashes aren’t that soft.
Cycling rule number 13
When there are crossroads, if you have an overview of the main road, the person from the right side always goes first.
Cycling rule number 14
Drive as much right on the cycle path as possible. Scooters drive on the cycle paths often as well and some can be a bit, well, aggressive. Just to be safe.
Cycling rule number 15
Don’t use your phone or something else while riding your bike. There is so much stuff happening that you need to pay attention to the roads.
Cycling rule number 16
Many Dutch bicycles have the back-pedal brakes, instead of the ones mounted on the handlebars. If you have never ridden a bike with those kinds of brakes before, practice. Practice. And practice some more, until you are comfortable using them.
Cycling rule number 17
Haaientanden. What? The literal translation is shark teeth. When you are cycling you will see white triangles painted on the ground. If the triangle is pointing at you, you have to stop to let traffic pass. If this is not the case, you are free to go, however always be aware of your surroundings. Some people don’t follow the rules.
Cycling rule number 18
If you spot zebra stripes, aka a pedestrian crosswalk, you’re supposed to stop when pedestrians want to cross. Do that.