In the Netherlands, cars drive on the right side of the road, but in Amsterdam, this is not always so obvious since the bike lane does not always accommodate the majority of bikers who dominate the city’s straats. This is why it is especially important to remain alert and aware of the rules of the road, as well as the general rhythm of this specific metropolis. ALWAYS look out for bikers: they are generally operating according to a sense of entitlement to the road, and you are better off working with them rather than against them. When commanding any motor vehicle, it is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone; if you bring children under 18 months in a car, you must have a carseat, and seatbelts are necessary for children under three.
When there are no signs stating otherwise, the speed limit in Amsterdam is typically 50 km/hr, with the roads leading into the city and the larger motorways typically set at 90 km/hr and 100 km/hr for passenger cars and non-commercial vehicles, respectively.
Parking in Amsterdam
In Amsterdam, there are different options for parking your car, and they each go along with different processes and prices. If you do not live in the city, but plan to spend the day there, you might want to park at one of the “P+R” facilities, just outside the city centre. These guarded garages offer easy access into the centre and a very reasonable rate for a full (24h) day of parking. There are also various parking garages scattered throughout the city, and these have hourly parking rates that vary in accordance to the proximity to the centre, where parking is quite expensive. However, they will seem fair in comparison with the rates on the streets. These parking garages are open 24 hours. The parking police in Amsterdam are quite notorious for their vigilance, when it comes to violations of time and space, so it if you intend to park on the street, be sure that you are in the right place and that you have paid for your time.
If you are someone who likes to have your car above ground, or if convenience is your priority, you will have the option of street parking in areas that are designated (or recognisable) by blue parking signs that are located next to parking metres. Street parking is priced according to the duration of your stay, and rates will vary in relation to where you are in the city. In the centre, the rates are as high as 5 euros/hour, while further out, you will find these rates are lower. Be careful to read the signs because there are sometimes hourly specifications, and when the police are on guard (on their bikes or atop their horses), they are sure to spot the vehicle that is not parked within the lines or between the times.
Getting into an Accident
If you get into an accident, and nobody is injured, the first thing you should do is locate your insurance claims form, which you are required to have with you in the vehicle, from your third party liability insurance. On the spot, both parties can exchange details for their individual insurance claims, and then all the claims are assessed.
If there is a conflict or if someone is injured, call the police and/or an ambulance (112).