Crossing the Street - Trams, Amsterdam
After going through Europe and places like Rome, I thought I had seen the worst of the worst of street traffic and how dangerous it is to cross the road - NO WAY this has to be the worst. This is how it goes - step off the pavement and watch out for the bikes in the bike lane, then the tram lane, then you get to the cars bit, not so bad, but then on your way over you forget about the trams, and the bikes and then you are finally on the other side of the road!!!! There are so many bikes in this city, just check out the bike parking lot near the train station!! I saw a post card where they are pulling our hundreds of bikes from the canals!
A funny situation was the fact that people often think that the Tram 5 is for free.So , many times I was surprised when I intend to pay and some people would tell me that it was not necessary. Well, after 5 months there I have seen quite often the "ticket checkers" to say that you should not take that as guarantee. If you want to try your luck and you thing the worry may compensate the money saved,here is my tip: avoid doing it in the last days of the month , last trams and always pay attention to the doors! The fee is around 34 €.
Public transport in Amsterdam is very good, well laid-out and mostly on time... their punctuality must be a direct result of the way they drive: like a gouda-wheel outta hell!
It seemed to me like nobody had ever bothered to explain to the drivers, cyclists and pedestrians who has right of way on the roads; everyone seems a bit confused when they actually find themselves on a collison course with someone or something.
When you see a bus or tram approaching the station, step well back and keep your distance. Also don't trust that when you are planning to cross the street that the driver will see you (or even care if he does!). Exercise caution, even on zebra crossings.
Basically, walking around Amsterdam is a great experience with lots to see, to do and to taste.
And after a few days, you'll be a master at tiptoeing around dog poopies, whilst keeping your eyes on the trams and busses, not slipping on the cobble stones and dodging cyclists at the same time!
My impression is that Amsterdam -- despite its welcome flatness -- is not an easy city to roll around in a wheelchair. There are many obstacles on the sidewalks like parked bikes, illegally parked cars. Take great precaution when crossing streets -- not so much because of crazy car drivers but rather because of the many cyclists, some of whom are not too considerate. Some of the canal bridges have quite a steep gradient.
As interesting and distracting as Amsterdam can be: if you're walking about in the city, be conscientious crossing the streets.
I should heed my own words.
Last Sept. walking home after a spliff & couple jong jenevers I almost got picked off by the southbound tram on Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, having to do a curb chain-assisted faceplant to survive.
Look both ways for TRAMS, buses & BIKES!
Just a tip for your good health.
Cycles though a good form of pollution free travelling has its pitfalls. Almsot no cyclist rings the bell when moving around and I came close to getting hit more than once. Cyclists have a separate lane and to new comers it may not be very easily identifiable.. but one has to be very carefull. specially with kids.
It is almost impossible to find a parking spot in Amsterdam. Is there really a law that forbids the construction of parking spaces in the city limits? Will somebody please enlighten me?
However, it is quite simple to get around with the public transportation. Intercity trains, subways and buses all work together to get where you want to go
I know that many will disagree but it seems that in this city there is a pecking order of road and pavement users and that pedestrians always come off the lowest in that order. Bikes will ride on pavements when there are cycle lanes; they will park so deeply across the pavement that you are forced to step off into the cycle lanes much to the ire of cyclists who do not see any hypocrisy in their curses; trams come upon you with a deadly quietness and an excessive speed in narrow streets where tourists unused to them are walking and cars are, well, just what we always find cars to be. Take great care if you walk!
There are bikes everywhere, but there aren't just bicycles in the bike paths, there are also scooters and mopeds and sometimes motorcycles. My friend was hit by a motorcycle while riding her bike and was thrown onto the sidewalk face first, cracking 2 teeth, and bruising her face and body. The woman who hit her left without stopping. We managed to get her plates but were told by the police that they couldn't help us. Can you believe that??
There are over 100,000 bicycles in Amsterdam. When you are crossing a street look both ways and watch out for them. Also, make sure you are NOT walking on a bike path. They usually have a brown or orange color to them and sometimes there is a picture of a bike painted on them or a sign (but not always). Walk on the SIDEWALK. I say this because now I live here and I know how much it sucks to have random tourists walking in front of me on the bike path while I am biking! If you hear a bell ringing behind you, then you are probably on a bike path, so check and get out of the way.
Also, watch out for Trams. People get killed by them, mostly because, they get off a tram and look one way before crossing or dont look at all, and end up getting hit by one coming the other way. If you see tram tracks at your feet make sure you look out. Especially near Central Station, since most of the trams come out from there and they are coming from all directions. When I first visited Amsterdam, seven years ago, I was in college and here strictly for the party aspect. If you are stoned and walking around its very easy to not pay attention. Back then, I was a bit overwhelmed as I was walking right by Central stations, and had trams coming from both ways and bicycles coming at me. These days, I dont smoke but I still know enough to PAY ATTENTION. Most or all of the people that get killed, maimed or hurt by trams are tourists!
Working at an Airport can be dangerous, so I'm real aware of the traffic around me. I ALWAYS turn & look around before taking step in any direction. Do the same while in Amsterdam, ESPECIALLY if you're out on the town enjoying a few drinks & weed. Cars, bikes, & trams fly at you from every which angle, & if you space out & tangle with any of them while on foot or bike, you'll lose. Pay attention to the color of the street. If you look down & see the path is a sort of reddish terra cotta color, it means you're on a bike path & are about to be cursed / run over by a bicycle.
Amsterdam seems to have an efficient tram network. That means that many attempts to shoot your camera at monuments and streets will not work properly as these lines up there keep showing on photos. Still, Amsterdam has many chances for beautiful photos; so don't let yourself down by those ever showing lines, ...
Being a pedestrian in Amsterdam is the most dangerous thing for me. You need to have your five senses in continuous action if you don't want to be run over. When there are no cars, there is a bicycle and when there are no bikes, there's a tram. That?s absolutely crazy!!!
Surprisingly when Amsterdam is a pretty cool place, people driving cars tend to be crazy - through redlights, through pedestrian crossings when the light is green to cross and speeding up the wrong side of the road - taxi's especially.
Don't step on the road unless it's clear or you're sure the cars are going to stop! Also, when you're crossing try to move quickly, as if the lights change when you're on the road cars will start coming towards you!
Loads of cyclists around who are fine - but still watch for them at crossings as many times they won't stop. Also some have a habit of coming up behind you withing ringing a bell - be careful!
You must have a "heads up" attitude when you are in Amsterdam. If you are a pedestrian you must watch for bicycles, trams, cars and whatever else the Dutch have come up with.
Stepping in front of a bike is a good way to get you and the rider hurt.
Stepping in front of a tram will probably only get yourself hurt...very hurt.
There are bike lanes where you won't expect them. They are clearly marked. Try not to stand in the middle of them and check you map.