Monday, March 2, 2009

Road Rules 101 - the lay of the land

The most important thing to know when visiting Amsterdam is where you should and BETTER NOT step. As simple as this lesson may seem, basic awareness of the street layout can save you from a "mile a minute" heart beat after a close call... or worse.

There are a number of vehicles of all shapes and sizes that maneuver around Amsterdam. To accommodate them all, the Dutch government has come up with a few different lanes. Let's think of them as layers:
A - the pedestrian layer: sidewalk
B - the biker's layer: the bike path
C - the motorized vehicle layer: road
D - the tram layer: tram tracks

If you had a bird's eye view, you'd see the street below as follows:
A, B, C, D, C, B, A.

As you look at the below picture, you can see each layer.

What many tourists forget is the crucial 2nd layer - the bike path, since it it is quite uncommon in other cities around the world. DON'T FORGET THE BIKE PATH.
Find the layers in the following pictures:
*please note, some bike paths are on the road, and others are on the sidewalk.

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