Crossing the Street - Trams, Amsterdam
The Amsterdam trams are a great way of transport, but they share pedestrian areas in the old city, where first time visitors are unaware of the danger to be hit by this means of transportation that on many points has the right of way.
On top of that (literally) is the power supply to the trams. These power line carry 600 Volts, a voltage that's absolute killing with direct contact to the wires. Luckily these wires are high over the streets at 3.6 meters, but be careful when carrying long rods or travel on the top deck of an open sightseeing bus.
It is perfectly understandable to be distracted by the splendour of Amsterdams architecture, but please do not get overrun by cyclists.The claim right of way everywhere, there are plenty of them, and stepping onto the road to get a better picture without looking might easily result in a collision.
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, the catchy title of the 1992 bestseller by John Gray, succinctly expresses an ancient dilemma. What--if anything--do men's and women's brains do differently?
The general statement that men and women respond and behave differently under the same circumstances is true; For example, from the crib, male babies tend to be more aggressive and females more passive. As adults, in spatial operations, men have the edge in such skills as negotiating a maze, reading a map, and quickly discriminating between right and left. Men also perform better than women when asked to visualize an object and imagine rotating it. On the other hand, women tend to perform better than men when asked to look at objects of different shapes, sizes, and colors, and then to group them in some order.
This still doesn't explain why Paulien turns the map all around when I'm asking for the road to travel, while I like the map at one point so I can better visualize our position. Help!
How bad does it hurt WHEN A TRAM HITS YOU? I hope you never find out. I had an interesting conversation with a Tram Driver. When I asked her (a V.T. Member!) if she had ever hit anything, the answer was yes. 12 car in 12 years. When I asked about people the answer was only 2. Why does it happen? Because people don’t look both ways or cars turn into the paths of the trams. Trains are way too heavy to stop quickly and so are trams. The roads are very confusing because of multiple trams lines on the same busy streets in some areas. I even saw locals get confused about where to look for the trams. When in doubt – go to marked crossings and watch the lights!
As mentioned in previous comments, watch your step when crossing tram tracks, either on foot or on 2-wheels. If you hear the bell of a tram, you have a split second to BE out of the way. The last-second warning is a courtesy that tram drivers afford someone they are about to run down (probably so they don't have to stop and fill out a time-consuming incident report).
As far as crossing tram tracks on a bicycle, be sure to watch how you cross. The tracks are in the ground, and are just wide enough to grab a bicycle tire and send the rider flying if they're not paying attention.
I feel silly writing this tip, because I got caught, but perhaps it will help somebody else.
On getting onto a Tram late one night, where I usually get the Conductor to stamp my Strippenkart was vacant, and I hadn't done it myself before. A Dutch man was at the machine doing his, I went forward, and he said to me that the machine wasn't working.
I asked "what do I do" he said he didn't know, he couldn't fix the machine, so I sat down.
The next stop, on got a heap of Inspectors, so I was in BIG TROUBLE, even though I had a valid ticket, it hadn't been stamped.
I told them what had happened, they tried the machine (I hadn't done, had taken the man's word for it) and lo and behold, it worked. I didn't know what to say. I felt so silly for not trying it myself, but I didn't expect to be lied to either!!!
Luckily, they let me off with a warning.
This was the ONE & ONLY TIME, that I ever saw Inspectors.
WAS I SET UP? I wonder.............
Amsterdam has a very comprehensive system of streetcars and trams; however, it's not always easy to make sure that you are getting on the right one. This was particularly true when boarding at Centraal Station. It seems that every streetcar line in Amsterdam passes in front, making it a convenient hub for getting around, but also a very confusing place to figure out. I studied the signs as diligently as I could, and I still made a couple of mistakes, one boarding a streetcar that set out in exact opposite direction that I wanted to go. And I don't think I ever really figured out the system of knowing which doors of the streetcar you were supposed to enter!
I know it's a bit of a cliche but do watch out for cyclists and trams! They're both very fast and come from unexpected directions. Some cyclists are good enough to ring a bell to warn you so you have a bit of time to step aside.
Don't walk on the cycle paths which are clearly marked.
I just spent the weekend in Amsterdam and managed not to get run over but only because I knew to look out for them!
We had just arrived in Amsterdam. We were walking along a sidewalk, dragging our suitcases. About 3 meters from a crossing we were about to use (no traffic lights there) I was well aware of a tram approaching from one side. So we stopped waiting for it to pass. But to our extreme surprise, the tram stopped too, and the smiling driver gestured for us to cross. We did, waving and smiling back.
That same day, I was walking along one of the canals, admiring the architecture, when suddenly a few bikes swooshed past me at such speed and such close distance that it gave me a fright and I almost lost my balance. I soon realised that I had unconsciously entered the bike line which was running along the pavement. True, my fault, but why hadn't they warned me with a bell or a shout?
Strange ways. A tram will stop to let you pass and a biker will run you over without a second thought.
Attention! Be carefull! Trams and mad bicyclists on all city ....Bicyclists go on special wide paths, wich pass on all city. There are many bicyclists in the town, they go quickly and often do not submit a signal - it is possible to be brought down!!!
Crossing the road in Amsterdam is a risky business. Not only do you have the road to contend with, you also have to cross tramlines and cycles lanes so be extra vigilant and keep your eyes and ears fully opened. Also, there is often no 'islands' between the roads, cycle lanes and tramlines offering a safe haven, so it's best to cross as swiftly as possible.
And be warned - the multitudes of cyclists in Amsterdam stop for absolutely nobody, and it is often impossible to determine the cycle lane from the footpath.
As a very senior citizen I am aware of the many warnings about trams (in the middle of the street) traffic direction (luckily we are not from England and look the right way-that is left), and bikes (I try to keep quiet when walking and continually mumble "bike" while approaching intersections). Along many of the newer paved walkways there is a bike lane near the street curb that is colored a dull brick-red. It is separated from the walking area which is raised, by another curb. This is the NEW DANGER for walkers. A shuffling elder or inattentive junior can easily trip over this curb which blends with the walking zone and is unmarked (they should be bright yellow!). This happened to my baby-sitter who badly sprained her knee in a fall. We had to take care of her instead of vice-versa. So if you are coming from a vehicle parked at the curb you must watch both ways for the bikes (they all go fast on the new lane) and then think "second curb" as you rush across the bike lane. These pictures in front of our hotel (the scene of the accident) illustrate the danger.
The Amsterdam Trams (public transport streetcars) are great to use, but they travel through some narrow crowded streets too (Leidsestraat, Reguliers Breestraat). So, get customized to look out for tracks and fast trams crossing (when you are crossing the street).
If you are used to left hand drive, like in England and Malta, you should look times before you cross the street. I almost got hit by a tram while crossing a street. Don't be dumb like me use the Zebra crossing! and the roads in Amsterdam are very dangerous. You can be hit by damn bikes, cars, buses or trams!!! I also found some ***ty drivers, ignorant people! (P.S if you go to Amsterdam or Utrecht you can also manage to get into the tram for free if you're lucky enough)
Probably appeared many many times on this site but just thought I'd add my bit. Please be very careful when crossing the roads in Amsterdam. You have cars, buses, bikes and trams to contend with. It's the bikes in particular that can catch you off guard. They have cycling lanes here in Amsterdam and it can be quite tricky to spot them and work out which way they are coming from when tryint to cross the roads here. Some of the smaller side streets look like pedestrian only zomes when in fact cyclist have just as much right of way on these and will wizz past without any warning. DONT say I didn't warn you! ha ha