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January 26th, 2010 | Last updated: May 18th, 2012


DutchAmsterdam.nl — Amsterdam is the most bicycle-friendly city in the world, says American travel agency Virgin Vacations.

In its listing of “11 Most Bicycle Friendly Cities in the World,” Amsterdam ranks number one.

Small wonder. Amsterdam truly is bike heaven.

Amsterdam Bicycling Facts

• Altogether Amsterdammers bike 2.000.000 kilometers a day.

• The city has 400 kilometers of dedicated bicycle paths.

• Number of bicycles in Amsterdam: 881.000 Number of cars in Amsterdam: 215,600.

• 50% of Amsterdam residents above the age of 12 cycle daily.

• Last year more people took their bikes for a spin (38%) through the city versus those who took a car (37%).

Virgin Vacations, which also ranked Amsterdam in first place in last years list, says the Dutch capital has “created a bicycle friendly city that promotes a healthier, more active lifestyle for its residents. An extensive network of safe, fast and comfortable bicycle routes has been developed, the road safety of cyclists has been increased, a theft-prevention program was set up as well as the number of bicycle sheds increased.”

The highlights, according to Virgin: “Designated street lanes and traffic signals. Bicycle safety concerns. Biking is core to its transportation infrastructure. Rent public bicycles. Underground sheds and outside racks, which hold thousands of bikes under guard. Large bicycle culture.”

Bicycle Tips for Tourists

Tourists can rent bikes, and either join a bicycle tour or explore the city on their own.

The municipality of Amsterdam has published a number of bicycle safety tips in brochures specifically aimed at tourists. These brochures are available free or charge at bike rental places, or online — in English, Dutch, German, French, Italian and Spanish.

Tips include:

• Follow the traffic regulations.
• Keep to the right and cycle in the same direction as the other traffic.
• Stop at red traffic lights.
• Use the cycle path and don’t cycle on the pavement or the motorway.
• Give way to traffic coming from the right.
• Use a white headlight and a red taillight after dark.
• Don’t cycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

• Stay alert when using the road
• Look before you leap – don’t turn or stop suddenly.
• Don’t dart out from between parked vehicles.
• Let others know what you’re planning to do: extend your hand and make eye contact.
• Don’t stop suddenly to look at the sights.
• Be aware of trams, lorries, mopeds and of course other cyclists

• Dutch bicycles often have a back-pedal brake. It may take a little practice to get the hang of using it!
• At traffic lights, stay well behind or well in front of lorries, never next to them, where you will not be easily visible to the driver.
• It is safest to cross at right angles to tram rails so your wheels don’t get caught.
• Taxis often drive on the tramlines.
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